Background/aims: One of the core symptoms of the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unrefreshing sleep and a subjective sensation of poor sleep quality. Whether this perception can be expressed, in a standardized questionnaire as the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), has to our knowledge never been documented in CFS. Furthermore, correlations of subjective fatigue, PSQI, affective symptoms and objective parameters such as sleep efficiency are poorly described in the literature.
Methods: Using a cross-sectional paradigm, we studied subjective measures like PSQI, Fatigue Severity Scale scores and intensity of affective symptoms rated by the Hamilton Depression and Anxiety scales as well as objective sleep quality parameters measured by polysomnography of 28 'pure' (no primary sleep and no psychiatric disorders) CFS patients compared to age- and gender-matched healthy controls.
Results: The PSQI showed significantly poorer subjective sleep quality in CFS patients than in healthy controls. In contrast, objective sleep quality parameters, like the Sleep Efficiency Index (SEI) or the amount of slow-wave sleep did not differ significantly. Subjective sleep quality showed a correlation trend with severity of fatigue and was not correlated with the intensity of affective symptoms in CFS.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that a sleep quality misperception exists in CFS or that potential nocturnal neurophysiological disturbances involved in the nonrecovering sensation in CFS are not expressed by sleep variables such as the SEI or sleep stage distributions and proportions.
(c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.