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J Psychosom Res. 1997 Jun;42(6):597-605.

The relation of sleep difficulties to fatigue, mood and disability in chronic fatigue syndrome.

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  • 1University of Manchester, Department of Community Psychiatry, UK.


The relationship of sleep complaints to mood, fatigue, disability, and lifestyle was examined in 69 chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients without psychiatric disorder, 58 CFS patients with psychiatric disorder, 38 psychiatric out-patients with chronic depressive disorders, and 45 healthy controls. The groups were matched for age and gender. There were few differences between the prevalence or nature of sleep complaints of CFS patients with or without current DSM-IIIR depression, anxiety or somatization disorder. CFS patients reported significantly more naps and waking by pain, a similar prevalence of difficulties in maintaining sleep, and significantly less difficulty getting off to sleep compared to depressed patients. Sleep continuity complaints preceded fatigue in only 20% of CFS patients, but there was a strong association between relapse and sleep disturbance. Certain types of sleep disorder were associated with increased disability or fatigue in CFS patients. Disrupted sleep appears to complicate the course of CFS. For the most part, sleep complaints are either attributable to the lifestyle of CFS patients or seem inherent to the underlying condition of CFS. They are generally unrelated to depression or anxiety in CFS.

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