Time to wake-up: sleep problems and daytime sleepiness in long-term stroke survivors

Brain Inj. 2008 Jul;22(7-8):575-9. doi: 10.1080/02699050802189727.


Background and purpose: In work with chronic stroke patients the authors observed that patients frequently appear sleepy and often comment on their poor sleep. Sleep difficulties are frequently reported and indeed clinically recognized in the acute phase post-stroke, but little is known about the sleep and daytime sleepiness of chronic stroke patients with sustained disabilities. The latter, however, deserves clarification because sleep is a critical modulator of health, daytime performance and wellbeing. The present study therefore explored the sleep and sleepiness in a chronic stroke population with sustained physical deficits.

Methods: An opportunity sample of 20 patients with chronic low-functioning hemiplegia (>12 months) completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Medical Outcome Study Short Form 36 and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Results: Compared to a normative healthy population, long-term stroke survivors reported poorer sleep and greater daytime sleepiness. Increased levels of sleepiness were associated with longer chronicity, whereas nocturnal sleep parameters were not.

Conclusions: In line with clinical observations, stroke survivors with sustained physical disabilities report poorer sleep and experience greater levels of sleepiness. Further research in a larger cohort and including objective sleep measures is necessary to investigate the nature and scale of sleep difficulties and daytime sleepiness in more detail so that care and treatment strategies can be developed in due course.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires