Sleep disturbances in irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2017 Mar;29(3). doi: 10.1111/nmo.12946. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Background: Sleep disturbances are well-documented among persons with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Difficulty in falling asleep, shorter sleep time, frequent arousal and awakenings, or non-restorative sleep are the most common manifestations. Sleep disturbances are also related to a higher risk of having IBS. Some researchers have provided evidence of a positive association between poorer subjective sleep quality and increased severity and frequency in gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in those with IBS. However, findings from studies using objective sleep and activity measures, such as polysomnography and actigraphy, are inconclusive.

Purpose: This systematic review of the literature between 1990 and 2015 evaluates the evidence of sleep disturbances in adults with IBS and their relationship with GI symptoms.

Keywords: irritable bowel syndrome; polysomnography; sleep disturbances; sleep misperception.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires