Sleep Quality in Ulcerative Colitis: Associations with Inflammation, Psychological Distress, and Quality of Life

Int J Behav Med. 2018 Oct;25(5):517-525. doi: 10.1007/s12529-018-9745-9.


Purpose: Treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC), given its chronicity and its associated disruptive and often distressing symptoms, is increasingly focusing on maximizing patient quality of life. Poorer quality of life has been found among patients with poor sleep quality, which is much more common in patients with UC than in the general population and may be associated with inflammation and psychological distress.

Method: Forty-seven patients with UC (n = 11 flaring) completed measures of sleep quality, depression, state anxiety, gastrointestinal-related anxiety, perceived stress, and quality of life. Measures of inflammation were also obtained.

Results: Patients endorsed high rates of poor sleep quality, which was highly correlated with depression and poorer inflammatory bowel disease-related quality of life, but was generally not related to other areas of psychological functioning or inflammation. Sleep quality was significantly independently associated with depression and female gender.

Conclusion: Poor sleep quality is prevalent in patients with UC and is strongly related to depression, suggesting that sleep and mood are important areas to assess in patients with UC in order to inform tailored treatment to improve quality of life.

Keywords: Depression; Distressing symptoms; Inflammatory bowel disease; Quality of life; Sleep quality; Ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*