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Disturbed sleep has emerged as a candidate risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, multiple studies link poor sleep to cognitive impairment and decline, and more recent studies link sleep disturbance to biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, study authors wrote. Researchers showed that shorter sleep duration and poorer sleep quality were associated with greater beta-amyloid buildup as shown on positron emission tomography (PET) scans. They noted another study had linked poorer sleep and reports of frequent napping with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) measures of beta-amyloid deposition. The authors said that numerous studies have linked sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) to poor cognitive outcomes, and more recent studies have tied SDB to Alzheimer’s disease.

The correlation does not explain the relationship. The article addresses the possible meanings of the observation.