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Poor sleep in CD linked to low levels of vitamin D

Presented by
Dr Caroline Walker, Tallaght University Hospital, Ireland
ECCO 2023

An association between sleep disturbances and vitamin D deficiency, which may negatively influence the quality of life of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD), has been shown by an Irish study. Hence, checking vitamin D levels could be helpful in patients with CD suffering from poor sleep.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) commonly experience impaired sleep [1,2]. Factors associated with poor sleep include corticosteroid use, depression, and disease activity. Furthermore, IBD patients often have a low vitamin D level, which has been identified as a factor independently linked to a reduced quality of life [2].

To evaluate a possible correlation between poor sleep and the individual level of vitamin D in patients with CD, a team from Tallaght University in Ireland set up a study with 54 invited patients with CD, whose evaluation included vitamin D level testing and the assessment of their sleep quality.

The median age of the participants was 42.5 years, half of them were women, and 24% were found to have severe vitamin D deficiency. CD was diagnosed at a mean of 17 years prior. Nearly half of the participants were in remission (46%), as measured by the Harvey-Bradshaw index. Mild and moderate activity was present in 13% and 37% of the participants, respectively, while 4% had severe CD.

Sleep quality was evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), with values >5 indicating  poor sleep quality. This was true for 61% of the study cohort, which presented a mean PSQI of 7.7 overall. When comparing PSQI between participants with vitamin D values that indicated deficiency and those with normal vitamin D values, a significant difference was observed with a PSQI of 10.5 and 6.7 (P=0.008), respectively.

Based on these results, the authors concluded that poor sleep and vitamin D deficiency are linked, leading to a negative impact on the patient’s quality of life. These findings prompted Dr Caroline Walker (Tallaght University Hospital, Ireland) to encourage vitamin D testing in CD patients with fatigue and sleep disturbances.

  1. Ananthakrishnan AN, et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;11:965–71.
  2. Walker C, et al. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor sleep quality in patients with Crohn’s disease. P165, ECCO 2023, 01–04 March, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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