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Sleep Abnormalities in Multiple Sclerosis


Purpose of review

This review summarizes the most well-documented sleep disorders seen in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), with a special focus on the impact on quality of life.

Recent findings

Sleep abnormalities in patients with MS are a multifactorial and relatively complex issue affecting approximately 60% of the patients while the pathophysiology of these symptoms is not fully understood. Circadian rhythm disorders and increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines have been recognized as potential players in affecting sleep homeostasis in MS patients. Medication-related side effects such as in immunotherapy and other factors such as lesion load can contribute to the disruption of normal sleep patterns.


Most frequently encountered sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep-related movement disorders, sleep-related breathing disorders, and circadian rhythm disorders affecting both adults and paediatric MS populations. Aetiology still remains unknown with treatment options focusing on behavioural cognitive therapy and lifestyle modification including improvement in sleep hygiene as well as melatonin supplementation. Given MS prevalence is still rising affecting millions of people, more personalized medicine applications should possibly form the key approach for improving patients’ quality of life and quality years.

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Correspondence to Giorgos K. Sakkas PhD.

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Giorgos Sakkas, Christoforos D. Giannaki, Christina Karatzaferi, and Mauro Manconi each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

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Sakkas, G.K., Giannaki, C.D., Karatzaferi, C. et al. Sleep Abnormalities in Multiple Sclerosis. Curr Treat Options Neurol 21, 4 (2019).

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  • Immune-mediated diseases
  • Quality of life
  • Melatonin
  • Fatigue
  • Survival
  • Circadian