Objective: Sleep deprivation can lower visceral perception thresholds and nonregenerative sleep has been implicated as an etiological factor in chronic hyperalgesia syndromes. The aims of our study were to quantify the self-reported prevalence and type of sleep disturbances in patients with different functional bowel disorders (FBD) and to determine if this prevalence is related to involvement of the upper or lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, perceived disease severity, or psychological comorbidity.
Methods: We enrolled 505 new FBD patients from an academic referral center specializing in functional GI disorders and 247 community based healthy controls. All patients and controls were prospectively evaluated by validated bowel symptom and sleep questionnaires. A psychological profile was obtained by SCL-90R.
Results: We found that 68% of functional dyspepsia (FD), 71.2% of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)+FD, 50.2% of IBS, and 55.1% of the normal subjects reported having sleep disturbances. Waking up repeatedly during the night and waking up in the morning feeling tired or not rested were the most commonly reported sleep patterns; 57.2% of the patients reported that their abdominal ache awakened them from sleep during the night. Self-reported sleep disturbance was directly related to the perceived intensity of GI symptoms. Self-reported sleep disturbances were equally common in both male (57%) and female (58.4%) FBD patients. There was no significant difference between the mean anxiety and depression scores between patients with and without sleep dysfunction.
Conclusions: FD patients, but not IBS patients, reported sleep disturbances more frequently than healthy control subjects. Abdominal pain or discomfort that awaken FBD patients from sleep during the night were common, and thus a poor discriminating factor between organic and functional disorders.