Sleep Disturbance and Chronic Widespread Pain


Musculoskeletal pain is common and often occurs at multiple sites. Persons with chronic widespread pain (CWP) often report disturbed sleep. Until recently, the relationship between sleep disturbance and CWP has been unclear: does poor sleep increase the risk of developing CWP, do people with CWP develop poor sleep as a consequence of their pain, or is the relationship bi-directional? In this article, we have focused on the relationship between insomnia and CWP. We briefly present descriptive epidemiological data for insomnia and CWP. We then summarise the available evidence which supports the hypothesis that the relationship is bi-directional. Finally, we discuss the clinical management of CWP and insomnia in primary care, where the vast majority of cases of CWP are managed.

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Conflict of Interest

John McBeth, Ross Wilkie, John Bedson, Carolyn Chew-Graham, and Rosie J. Lacey declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Correspondence to John McBeth.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Chronic Pain

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McBeth, J., Wilkie, R., Bedson, J. et al. Sleep Disturbance and Chronic Widespread Pain. Curr Rheumatol Rep 17, 1 (2015).

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  • Epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factor
  • Incidence
  • Onset
  • Cohort study
  • Longitudinal study
  • Chronic widespread pain
  • Widespread pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep problems
  • Ageing
  • Older adults
  • Primary care
  • Clinical management