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Polysomnography shows sleep fragmentation in patients with inactive inflammatory bowel disease

  • Beilman, Candace1
  • Dittrich, Alexandra1
  • Scott, Holly2
  • McNab, Brian3
  • Olayinka, Lily1
  • Kroeker, Karen I.1
  • 1 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Centre of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research, (Candace Beilman, Alexandra Dittrich, Lily Olayinka, Karen I. Kroeker)
  • 2 Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB, Canada (Holly Scott)
  • 3 Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine (Brian McNab), University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Published Article
Annals of Gastroenterology
Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology
Publication Date
Sep 16, 2020
DOI: 10.20524/aog.2020.0529
PMCID: PMC7599352
PubMed Central


Background Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), classified as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Fatigue is a common symptom of IBD, even in periods of inactive disease; however, the cause of this fatigue is unknown. Studies have suggested that altered sleep patterns may be associated with the fatigue experienced by IBD patients. The aim of our study was to assess the sleep quality of patients with inactive IBD who report fatigue. Methods We conducted a prospective observational pilot study that examined IBD outpatients with inactive disease who had complaints of fatigue. Upon enrolment, patients underwent Level 1 diagnostic polysomnography for one night to measure objective sleep parameters. Patients were also asked to complete 3 validated questionnaires to assess fatigue, depression levels, and subjective sleep quality. Results Fifteen patients (7 with CD, 8 with UC) were enrolled in the study; their mean age was 38.6±11.6 years. IBD patients had a mean spontaneous arousal index of 20.0±9.7 arousals /h. Patients spent an average of 6.6%, 60.4%, 15.2%, and 17.9% of their total sleep time in stages N1, N2, N3 and rapid-eye-movement sleep, respectively. Four (26.7%) patients had obstructive sleep apnea, and 7 (46.7%) patients experienced periodic limb movements of sleep. Conclusions Patients with IBD experienced altered sleep patterns and high rates of sleep fragmentation. Further research is needed to determine how poor sleep quality can be treated in patients with IBD.

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