Sleep Disturbances

Matthew E. Peters, M.D., Glenn J. Treisman, M.D., Ph.D.
Sleep Disturbances is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins HIV Guide.

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  • Insomnia: "a persistent difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or non-restorative sleep associated with impaired daytime function" (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)[11]
  • Has been associated with poorer outcome in HIV because it adversely affects immune status, medication adherence, and is correlated with increased fatigue and comorbid psychiatric disorders (e.g., anxiety/depression) leading to lower quality of life[15]
    • Decreased cognitive performance (particularly on tasks of attention), frontal/executive functioning, and psychomotor/motor speed have been associated with sleep disruption in HIV+ individuals[3]
  • Limited literature on insomnia in HIV.[15] Much of the literature discussed "sleep disturbance."
    • Prevalence of sleep disturbance in HIV+ patients (29-97%) should be compared to sleep disturbance in general population (~33%), not prevalence of clinically significant insomnia in general population (~10%)
    • Examples of sleep disturbance include daytime sleepiness, difficulty initiating sleep, nocturnal awakenings, and disrupted sleep architecture
  • In a convenience sample of 290 HIV+ adults living, Lee et al.[4] found the following:
    • 45% slept < 6 hrs per night
    • Difficulty falling asleep reported by 34%
    • 56% had fragmented sleep according to actigraphy
    • 30% were "good sleepers"
  • Some correlates to sleep disturbance in HIV+ patients are[15]:
    • Advanced stage or longer duration of infection
    • Cognitive impairment, including HIV-associated dementia
    • Psychiatric symptoms, including depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, fatigue, and substance abuse
  • EFV has been well-documented to cause insomnia and other sleep disruptions, especially during early weeks of therapy[13][10]
  • Cessation of chronic use of alcohol or benzodiazepines often produces insomnia

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Last updated: February 1, 2015