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Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jan;64(1):281-4. doi: 10.1002/art.33346.

Sleep problems and risk of fibromyalgia: longitudinal data on an adult female population in Norway.

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Department of Human Movement Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.



Sleep problems are common among patients with fibromyalgia (FM). However, it is not known whether poor sleep is a contributing factor in FM or a consequence of the illness. The aim of the current study was to prospectively investigate the association between self-reported sleep problems and risk of FM among adult women.


We longitudinally studied 12,350 women who did not have FM, musculoskeletal pain, or physical impairments at baseline (1984-1986). A generalized linear model was used to calculate the adjusted relative risk (RR) of FM at followup in 1995-1997.


Incident FM was reported by 327 women at followup. A dose-dependent association was found between sleep problems and risk of FM (P for trend<0.001), with an adjusted RR of 3.43 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 2.26-5.19) among women who reported having sleep problems often or always, compared to women who never experienced sleep problems. Age-stratified analysis showed that women age≥45 years who reported having sleep problems often or always had an adjusted RR of 5.41 (95% CI 2.65-11.05), whereas the corresponding RR for women ages 20-44 years who reported having sleep problems often or always was 2.98 (95% CI 1.76-5.05).


These prospective data indicate a strong dose-dependent association between sleep problems and risk of FM. The association is somewhat, although not significantly, stronger in middle-aged and older women than in younger women.

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