What is the role of sleep dysfunction in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Sleep dysfunction is believed to be linked to the numerous metabolic disturbances associated with fibromyalgia, including abnormal levels of neurotransmitters (serotonin, substance P) and neuroendocrine and immune substances (growth hormone, cortisol, interleukin-1). These metabolic imbalances are thought to be responsible—through impairment of tissue repair and disturbance of the immunoregulatory role of sleep—for the increased symptoms associated with this sleep disorder of alpha-wave intrusion.

Most alpha-wave intrusions occur during the first few hours of sleep, decreasing throughout the night to normal levels by early morning. This hypothesis correlates well with patients' frequent reporting that their best sleep is obtained in the early morning hours, just before arising.


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