Sleep Changes in Multiple Sclerosis: from the Individual�s Perspective
Sleep Changes in Multiple Sclerosis: from the Individual’s Perspective
Sleep difficulties are common in multiple sclerosis (MS), with prevalence rates ranging from 36% to 62%. Sleep problems have been shown to have a grave impact on individuals in the general population and to contribute to reports of fatigue and reduced quality of life in MS. However, despite these high rates and overall impact, sleep problems in MS frequently go unrecognized. The present investigation sought to examine sleep changes among a sample of 97 individuals with MS and to gain a better appreciation as to what individuals with MS report as contributing to their change in sleep. Approximately 58% of participants complained of changes in their sleep. Among these 56 participants, bladder incontinence, muscle stiffness and leg spasms were most often endorsed as a contributor, with rates ranging from 57% to 63%. When asked about the primary attribution of their sleep change, the majority of individuals (43%) described problems with bladder incontinence. Following this, 17% and 15% reported worry and problems with leg spasms as the primary contributors, respectively. Furthermore, those who rated worry as their primary reason for change in their sleep also endorsed greater symptomatology of depression and anxiety. These findings suggest that sleep difficulties in MS may be a result of many physical and/or psychological symptoms. Proper identification of the etiology of sleep changes in MS is warranted in order to treat these problems and hopefully ameliorate individuals’ difficulty with sleep and fatigue.