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Sleep. 2018 Mar 1;41(3). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy002.

Psychological processes associated with insomnia in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Author information

Epsylon Laboratory Dynamic of Human Abilities and Health Behaviors, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France.
Department of Neurology, Montpellier University Hospital, Montpellier, France.


Study Objectives:

Despite the high comorbidity of insomnia disorder (ID) with multiple sclerosis (MS), the relevance of psychological processes involved in the maintenance of insomnia is yet to be established in this neurological disorder. This study aimed to ascertain to what extent the suggested emotional, cognitive, and behavioral processes maintaining insomnia are relevant in people with insomnia and MS.


A between-subjects design was used to compare 26 patients with insomnia and MS, with 31 patients with MS only, and with 26 matched neurological disease-free individuals with insomnia. All patients participated in a standardized clinical interview and completed a battery of self-reported measures of cognitive and somatic presleep arousal experienced at bedtime, sleep- or insomnia-related unhelpful beliefs, and sleep-related safety behaviors. All patients with MS underwent a neurological examination.


ID comorbid to MS was strongly associated with increased levels of cognitive and somatic arousal, higher endorsement of dysfunctional beliefs about the consequences of insomnia on daytime functioning, and worry about insomnia and more frequent engagement in sleep-related safety behaviors. Patients with MS with ID did not differ from neurological disease-free individuals with insomnia on these measures. No link was found between MS clinical peculiarities and ID diagnosis.


ID comorbid to MS is associated with the classical psychological factors perpetuating ID in neurological disease-free individuals with insomnia. Primary care providers and neurologists should consider target-oriented therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia as a treatment approach for ID comorbid to MS.


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