Active Inflammatory Bowel Disease Is Associated with Short Sleep Duration via Objective Measures

Alex Barnes, Sutapa Mukherjee, Jane M. Andrews, Paul Spizzo, Réme Mountifield

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Introduction: Poor sleep quality has been associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) activity, although studies incorporating actigraphy suggest that the perception of sleep differs rather than objective difference in sleep quality. Short sleep duration has been associated with increased pro-inflammatory cytokines that have been implicated in the pathogenesis of IBD. 

Methods: An observational study incorporated home-based polysomnography that was conducted within twelve weeks of an objective assessment of IBD activity such as calprotectin, colonoscopy, or MRI. Participants completed a survey on subjective measures of sleep quality, clinical IBD activity, depression, and anxiety. Polysomnography results were normalized by standardized results for a healthy population matched by gender and age. 

Results: Twenty participants were included in the final analysis. Those with objective evidence of active IBD had shorter stage 2 sleep duration, leading to shorter NREM sleep and total sleep time. Sleep latency was also longer in those with active IBD, leading to worse sleep efficiency—despite no difference in time available for sleep between the two groups. These changes persisted after normalization of polysomnography results by health population age and gender matched norms. Depression scores correlated with sleep latency and stage 2 sleep duration and were associated with objectively active IBD. 

Conclusions: Objectively confirmed active IBD was associated with shorter sleep duration. Observed sleep changes may, in part, relate to coexistent depression. Further research should consider the utility of changes in sleep duration and quality as a means of longitudinally assessing objective IBD activity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Early online date6 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2024


  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Sleep
  • Sleep deprivation


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