Chronic sleep disturbance and neural injury: Links to neurodegenerative disease

Sabra M. Abbott*, Aleksandar Videnovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Sleep-wake disruption is frequently observed and often one of the earliest reported symptoms of many neurodegenerative disorders. This provides insight into the underlying pathophysiology of these disorders, as sleep-wake abnormalities are often accompanied by neurodegenerative or neurotransmitter changes. However, in addition to being a symptom of the underlying neurodegenerative condition, there is also emerging evidence that sleep disturbance itself may contribute to the development and facilitate the progression of several of these disorders. Due to its impact both as an early symptom and as a potential factor contributing to ongoing neurodegeneration, the sleep-wake cycle is an ideal target for further study for potential interventions not only to lessen the burden of these diseases but also to slow their progression. In this review, we will highlight the sleep phenotypes associated with some of the major neurodegenerative disorders, focusing on the circadian disruption associated with Alzheimer's disease, the rapid eye movement behavior disorder and sleep fragmentation associated with Parkinson's disease, and the insomnia and circadian dysregulation associated with Huntington's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalNature and Science of Sleep
StatePublished - 2016


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Applied Psychology


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