Sleep quality in well-defined Lyme disease: a clinical cohort study in Maryland

Sleep. 2018 May 1;41(5). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy035.


Study objectives: Lyme disease (LD) is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Approximately 5-15 per cent of patients develop postantibiotic treatment symptoms termed post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). The primary objective of this study is to examine and quantify sleep quality among patients with early LD during the acute and convalescent periods, including among the subset who met criteria for PTLDS.

Methods: This paper draws from a clinical cohort study of participants with early LD (n = 122) and a subcohort of individuals who later met criteria for PTLDS (n = 6). Participants were followed for 1 year after antibiotic treatment. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and standardized measures of pain, fatigue, depressive symptoms, and functional impact were administered at all visits for participants and controls (n = 26). Participants meeting criteria for PTLDS at 1 year post-treatment were compared with a subset of PSQI-defined poor sleeping controls (n = 10).

Results: At the pretreatment visit, participants with early LD reported poorer sleep than controls. By 6 months post-treatment, participant sleep scores as a group returned to control levels. Participants with PTLDS reported significantly worse global sleep and sleep disturbance scores and worse fatigue, functional impact, and more cognitive-affective depressive symptoms compared with poor sleeping controls.

Conclusions: Participants with early LD experienced poor sleep quality, which is associated with typical LD symptoms of pain and fatigue. In the subset of patients who developed PTLDS, sleep quality remains affected for up to 1 year post-treatment and is commonly associated with pain. Sleep quality should be considered in the clinical picture for LD and PTLDS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Fatigue / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy
  • Lyme Disease / pathology*
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / pathology
  • Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome / pathology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / pathology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents