Objective: To determine whether unexplained gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are more common in people with self-reported sleep disturbance.
Participants and methods: From November 1988 to June 1994, valid self-report questionnaires were mailed to age- and sex-stratified random samples of Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents aged 20 to 95 years.
Results: Of 2269 study participants (74% response rate), 52% were women (mean age, 45.0 years). The overall age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of sleep disturbance per 100 population was 13.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.7%-15.3%). Among study participants with sleep disturbance, the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was 33.3% (95% CI, 26.0%-40.5%) and the prevalence of frequent dyspepsia (FD) was 21.3% (95% CI, 14.4%-28.2%). After adjusting for age, sex, and somatization score, IBS was significantly more common in those with sleep disturbance (odds ratio, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1-2.2), but the univariate association with FD was no longer statistically significant (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.9-1.9).
Conclusions: Both IBS and FD are prevalent in those with self-reported sleep disturbance. Sleep disturbance was independently associated with IBS but not FD in the general population.