Sex and Sleep Disruption as Contributing Factors in Alzheimer's Disease

Carrie E. Johnson, Marilyn J. Duncan, M. Paul Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects more women than men, with women throughout the menopausal transition potentially being the most under researched and at-risk group. Sleep disruptions, which are an established risk factor for AD, increase in prevalence with normal aging and are exacerbated in women during menopause. Sex differences showing more disrupted sleep patterns and increased AD pathology in women and female animal models have been established in literature, with much emphasis placed on loss of circulating gonadal hormones with age. Interestingly, increases in gonadotropins such as follicle stimulating hormone are emerging to be a major contributor to AD pathogenesis and may also play a role in sleep disruption, perhaps in combination with other lesser studied hormones. Several sleep influencing regions of the brain appear to be affected early in AD progression and some may exhibit sexual dimorphisms that may contribute to increased sleep disruptions in women with age. Additionally, some of the most common sleep disorders, as well as multiple health conditions that impair sleep quality, are more prevalent and more severe in women. These conditions are often comorbid with AD and have bi-directional relationships that contribute synergistically to cognitive decline and neuropathology. The association during aging of increased sleep disruption and sleep disorders, dramatic hormonal changes during and after menopause, and increased AD pathology may be interacting and contributing factors that lead to the increased number of women living with AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-364
Number of pages44
JournalAdvances in Alzheimer's Disease
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 IOS Press. All rights reserved.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • hormones
  • menopause
  • sex differences
  • sleep
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex and Sleep Disruption as Contributing Factors in Alzheimer's Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this