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Abstract

Objective

To examine the prevalence of sleep disturbances in adults with arthritis in a nationally representative sample, mediators of sleep difficulties, and subgroups of individuals with arthritis at greatest risk.

Methods

Using data on US adults ages ≥18 years participating in the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, we computed the prevalence of 3 measures of sleep disturbance (insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and sleep duration <6 hours) among persons with arthritis. We used logistic regression analysis to examine if the association of arthritis and sleep disturbances was independent of sociodemographic characteristics and comorbidities, and to identify potential mediators. We used classification trees to identify subgroups at higher risk.

Results

The adjusted prevalence of insomnia was higher among adults with arthritis than those without arthritis (23.1% versus 16.4%; P < 0.0001), but was similar to those with other chronic diseases. Adults with arthritis were more likely than those without arthritis to report insomnia (unadjusted odds ratio 2.92, 95% confidence interval 2.68–3.17), but adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and comorbidities attenuated this association. Joint pain and limitation due to pain mediated the association between arthritis and insomnia. Among adults with arthritis, those with depression and anxiety were at highest risk for sleep disturbance. Results for excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep duration <6 hours were similar.

Conclusion

Sleep disturbance affects up to 10.2 million US adults with arthritis, and is mediated by joint pain and limitation due to pain. Among individuals with arthritis, those with depression and anxiety are at greatest risk.