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Sleep Disorders in Spinal Cord Injury

Lead Physician: Richard J. Castriotta, M.D., Mark C. Wilde, Psy.D., Sandeep Sahay, M.D.

Sleep disorders frequently go unrecognized in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Physiological changes following SCI predispose patients to hypoventilation and obstructive sleep apnea, both of which are common following spinal cord injury. SCI may also result in circadian rhythm disorders due to the disruption of pathways that control melatonin and body temperature. Other reasons for insomnia include pain, psychological distress, restless legs and periodic limb movements in REM and non-REM sleep. The authors concluded that more research is needed to understand the interrelationships of these factors and their contribution to insomnia, with a goal of improving daytime functioning and functional independence after SCI.

For more information

Sleep Medicine Clinics. 2012;7:643-53.