November 17, 2011
Researchers from Norway have uncovered an association between sleep problems and increased risk of fibromyalgia in women. The risk of fibromyalgia increased with severity of sleep problems, and the association was stronger among middle-aged and older women than among younger women
Experts estimate that fibromyalgia -- a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome -- affects more than 5 million people over the age of 18 in the U.S., with the general adult population prevalence at 3% to 5%. Studies have shown that the syndrome onset typically occurs in middle age and up to 90% of those with fibromyalgia are women. While previous research has found that insomnia, nocturnal awakening, and fatigue are common symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia, it is unknown whether poor sleep habits contribute to the development of this pain syndrome.
"Our findings indicate a strong association between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia risk in adult women," said Dr. Mork. "We found a dose-response relation, where women who often reported sleep problems had a greater risk of fibromyalgia than those who never experienced sleep problems."