Objective. To assess objective and subjective evidence of sleep disturbances in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to examine correlations between parameters of inflammatory activity and sleep pathology.
Methods. Nineteen RA patients and 19 age-matched healthy control subjects underwent all-night polysomnography on 2 consecutive nights. RA patients were also evaluated for daytime sleepiness by mean sleep latency test and responded to a self-report questionnaire on their first night.
Results. Whereas normal sleep architecture is conserved in RA, we confirmed former findings of severe sleep fragmentation and an enhanced presence of primary sleep disorders. No correlation exists between RA activity and the sleep disorders. Subjective assessment was not consistent with the objective evidence of sleep disruption, unlike the findings in patients with fibrositis.
Conclusion. Sleep is severly disturbed in patients with RA, regardless of the inflammatory disease activity. the specificity of the sleep disorders assessed needs confirmation, as does specific sleep therapy for these patients.