MS-Related Fatigue May Be Brought On By Poor Sleeping Habits

Depression and fatigue loom as issues to overcome for patients with multiple sclerosis.

Depression and fatigue loom as issues to overcome for patients with multiple sclerosis.

A debilitating side effect of multiple sclerosis (MS) is extreme fatigue. However, this fatigue may be brought on by factors other than MS.

In a review of pertinent literature on the subject, Lauren Strober, PhD, discovered that sleep may be the dominant factor in fatigue suffered by MS patients.

Strober studied a group of 107 employed individuals with MS. Of the 107 studied, 61% reported poor sleep habits. Sleep disturbances accounted for 35% of the variance in fatigue in this subset; depression accounted for another 7%.

“Fatigue is detrimental to daily functioning and well-being,” Dr. Strober said. “It clearly interferes with a person’s ability to participate fully in the community and the workplace. If we can determine what contributes to fatigue in MS, we can improve quality of life and keep people engaged in work and social activities. Routine screening for sleep problems and treatment of sleep disturbances may reduce fatigue and its debilitating effects.”

Dr. Strober evaluated this topic, in addition to focusing on the impact of MS on employment in a group that has unemployment rates as high as 80%.