A new study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain concludes that people with fibromyalgia have difficulty maintaining continuous sleep as compared to patients with primary insomnia and patients who do not report disturbed sleep.
“This post hoc analysis demonstrates that the nature of sleep disturbance among patients with fibromyalgia reporting difficulty with sleep can be distinguished from patients with primary insomnia and from controls,” the study’s authors wrote.
“We demonstrate that despite comparable wake time during the night (WASO), fibromyalgia patients can be differentiated from patients with primary insomnia and from controls without sleep difficulties, on the basis of frequency and duration of wake or sleep bout episodes.”
The researchers studied 132 people with fibromyalgia (FM) who have difficulty sleeping, 109 people with primary insomnia (PI), and 52 people without sleep disturbance. FM and PI patients were preselected to meet the sleep disturbance criteria.
People with fibromyalgia and primary insomnia had decreased total sleep time and slow-wave sleep (SWS), and increased latency to persistent sleep (LPS) and wake time after sleep onset (WASO) versus controls (P<0.05 for each). People with fibromyalgia had shorter, but more frequent wake bouts versus people with primary insomnia. Both groups had shorter sleep bout duration versus controls
“We feel these characteristics, in addition to broadening our understanding of the sleep disturbances in these populations, may have relevance in terms of the pathophysiology of the sleep disturbance as well as differential treatment practices for physicians evaluating and managing disrupted sleep in patients with fibromyalgia or those with primary insomnia,” the authors wrote.
The authors concluded, “That sleep in FM is characterized by an inability to maintain continuous sleep but a greater sleep drive compared with PI.”