Sleep disturbances, daytime sleepiness, and quality of life in adults with growth hormone deficiency

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 May;95(5):2195-202. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-2080. Epub 2010 Mar 23.


Context: Low energy and fatigue are frequent complaints in subjects with GH deficiency (GHD). Because interrelations between sleep and GH regulation are well documented, these complaints could partly reflect alterations of sleep quality.

Objective: The objective of the study was to determine objective and subjective sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in adult GHD patients.

Subjects: Thirty patients, aged 19-74 yr, with untreated GHD (primary pituitary defects confirmed or likely in 26 patients, hypothalamic origin in four patients), and 30 healthy controls individually matched for gender, age, and body mass index participated in the study. Patients with associated pituitary deficiencies (n = 28) were on hormonal replacement therapy.

Methods: Polygraphic sleep recordings, assessment of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Quality of Life Assessment for GHD in Adults were measured.

Results: Irrespective of etiology, GHD patients had a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score above the clinical cutoff for poor sleep and lower Quality of Life Assessment for GHD in Adults scores than controls, with tiredness being the most affected domain. Patients with pituitary GHD spent more time in slow-wave sleep (SWS) and had a higher intensity of SWS than their controls. Among these patients, older individuals obtained less total sleep than controls, and their late sleep was more fragmented. Contrasting with pituitary GHD, the four patients with hypothalamic GHD had lower intensity of SWS than their controls.

Conclusions: GHD is associated with sleep disorders that may be caused by specific hormonal alterations as well as with poor subjective sleep quality and daytime sleepiness. Disturbed sleep is likely to be partly responsible for increased tiredness, a major component of quality of life in GHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Homeostasis
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Thyrotropin / blood


  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Thyrotropin