Sleep quality, clinical and psychological manifestations in women with systemic lupus erythematosus

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Sleep problems are a common complaint in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. We analyzed sleep quality with subjective and objective measures in a sample with SLE and its possible relationships with the main manifestations of the disease.


Twenty-one women with SLE and 20 healthy women participated in the study. All participants were evaluated with actigraphy for a week and they completed self-report instruments of sleep quality, quality of life, fatigue, anxiety, depression and perceived stress. Comparison analyses between the two groups were done using Chi-square and Student's t-tests. The association between sleep quality and the remaining variables was explored using Pearson correlation coefficients.


SLE patients had higher fragmentation index in the actigraphic analysis and a perception of poorer sleep quality, more fatigue, anxiety and depression than the control group. Bivariate analyses showed that the perception of more sleep disturbance and daytime dysfunction was associated with a lower health-related quality of life, more fatigue, emotional discomfort and more perceived stress. Also, the fragmentation index in the actigraphy was significantly related to the perception of poorer quality of sleep.


SLE women had a poorer sleep quality (objective and subjective). These alterations could play a modulatory role in clinical and psychological manifestations of the disease and affect the quality of life in this population. More research is needed to clarify these relations and to determine the potential benefits of interventions directed to improve sleep in the clinical managing of the patients with SLE.

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