The impact of spinal cord injury on sleep: a review

A narrative review published on the Dove Press journal “Nature and Science of Sleep” examines various sleep abnormalities and related functional and physical impairments in people living with spinal cord injury. 

“Primary sleep disorders such as sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), sleep-related movement disorders, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, and insomnia disorder are common conditions after SCI but remain under-recognised and under-diagnosed and therefore remain untreated for a majority of patients,” the researchers say. 

The paper discusses new evidence pertaining to management, highlights existing limitations in the literature and recommends future directions for research. 

The authors are from both the USA and Australia.

In the USA, they are from the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit and Wayne State University in Detroit; the University of California; the University of British Columbia and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

In Australia, the authors are from the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne and the Department of Physiotherapy and the Institute for Breathing and Sleep at Austin Health, also in Melbourne.

“The extant literature on the impact of SCI on sleep is limited and heterogeneous. While advances have been made recently on understanding the mechanisms and optimising management of SDB after chronic SCI, other sleep disorders remain unstudied,” the researchers say. 

“Future studies could identify the particular expression of the disease, assess new therapies beyond traditional treatments, and determine predictors of treatment efficacy”.

“A focus on developing standardised approaches along with measures of treatment efficacy could also provide more information on the efficacy of individual treatment components,” the paper concluded.

You can read the full review here.

The impact of spinal cord injury on sleep: a review