Study: Fatigue in MS Patients Linked to Poor Sleep Quality

A new study has linked the fatigue that’s very common to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to poor sleep quality — and suggests that assessing sleep quality could be an important tool in supporting these patients.

Mayis Aldughmi, a student in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Kansas Medical Center, presented her abstract at last week’s 2016 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in National Harbor, Md.

The abstract was titled, “Fatigue Measured Using the Neurological Fatigue Index Is Associated with Poor Sleep Quality and Inattentiveness in People with Multiple Sclerosis.”

The study involved assessing 52 people who have relapsing/remitting or secondary progressive MS to determine the quality of their sleep and their levels of sustained attention during waking hours.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today reported that patients’ abnormal sleep was causing lower sleep quality that in turn led to greater fatigue during the day. That fatigue impacted patients’ ability to maintain high levels of cognitive attention while they were awake.

The abstract, as quoted by MS News Today, said, “Cognitive fatigue is associated with decreased sustained attention. This is clinically important, as sustained attention is necessary for individuals to effectively perform continuous and repetitive activities, and being cognitively fatigued may affect the performance of these tasks.”

Healthcare professionals, the study added, could potentially help MS patients by determining whether or not they have sleep disturbances, and if so, addressing them as part of patients’ overall treatment plans.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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