The purpose of this investigation was to compare self-reported sleep quality and psychological distress, as well as somnographic sleep and physiological stress arousal, in women recruited from the community with self-reported medically diagnosed fibromyalgia (FM) to women without somatic symptoms. Eleven midlife women with FM, when compared to 11 asymptomatic women, reported poorer sleep quality and higher SCL-90psychological distress scores. Women with FM also had more early night transitional sleep (stage 1) (p < 0.01), more sleep stage changes (p <0.03) and a higher sleep fragmentation index (p < 0.03), but did not differ in alpha-EEG-NREM activity (a marker believed to accompany FM). No physiological stress arousal differences were evident. Less stable sleep in the early night supports a postulate that nighttime hormone (e.g., growth hormone) disturbance is an etiologic factor but, contrary to several literature assertions, alpha-EEG-NREM activity sleep does not appear to be a specific marker of FM. Further study of mechanisms is needed to guide treatment options.
Res Nurs Health 1997 Jun;20(3):247-257.
College of Nursing (M/C 802), University of Illinois at Chicago 60612, USA.