Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: How Does It Affect Sleep?

Researchers at Australia's Victoria University Professor Dorothy Bruck and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Melinda Jackson have conducted a review of research related to sleep and chronic fatigue. Their analysis sheds some light on possible reasons for poor sleep among patients with chronic fatigue.

People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are more than “just tired”. They suffer from an intense fatigue and exhaustion that won’t go away. Physical or mental activity can make their CFS symptoms worse. To recover, the person must rest for longer than usual. People with CFS have less energy to do everyday tasks. This can apply to both physical things (e.g. to go for a walk), and mental things (e.g. to focus at work).

People with CFS have sleep difficulties as well. These can include finding it hard to get to sleep, waking up often during the night and/or waking up too early in the morning. Having a bad night of sleep can make it harder to remember things. It can also be harder to focus on tasks and increases moodiness or irritability. Poor sleep can also increase sensitivity to pain. For people with CFS, poor sleep can make the feelings of being fatigued even worse.

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