Over the years, several studies have shown that women with endometriosis suffer from poor sleep quality, but a new project from a group of researchers in Iran claims to be the first to have investigated the effect of lifestyle factors on the sleep quality of women with endometriosis.
Why is sleep quality and endometriosis linked?
As with many aspects of endometriosis, the link between the disease and poor sleep quality is not fully known, although it is thought to be associated with pain.
This study aimed to take a more holistic look at endometriosis and sleep quality, examining whether lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, socio-economic level, history of smoking etc could also be having an impact.
How was the study carried out?
The research team took a group of 156 infertile women, of whom 78 had endometriosis and 78 functioned as a control group.
At the beginning of the study, each participant completed a checklist of questions about their physical activity, demographics, reproductive and menstrual status, among other things.
Different aspects of sleep quality were assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, which looks at elements of sleep quality such as:
- sleep latency
- sleep duration
- sleep disturbances
- daytime dysfunction
The researchers then used various approved statistical analysis tools to examine links between various lifestyle factors and poor sleep quality in women with endometriosis and the control group.
What were the results of the study?
Sleep quality was found to be significantly lower amongst the women with endometriosis than those in the control group.
The factors found to be most strongly linked to poor sleep quality were dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain), dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), pelvic pain, low physical activity and low consumption of dairy produce, fruits and nuts.
What are the implications of this for women with endometriosis?
Whilst many of the sleep-affecting issues are direct symptoms of endometriosis, other factors, such as diet and exercise can be changed to impact on quality of sleep.
The study found that women with endometriosis were significantly less likely to have a diet rich in tryptophan, which aids melatonin production, which in turn allows for a better night’s sleep.
Exercise levels were also much lower in women with endometriosis sufferers, and those with a physical activity level rated ‘high’ (more than three hours per week) were found to have a much better quality of sleep than those who did little to no exercise.
If you have been having problems sleeping and you suffer from any of the other symptoms associated with endometriosis – severe pelvic pain, painful periods, pain during intercourse, bowel or bladder issues – why not contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our specialists. Call SureScan today on 07835 736627 to book an appointment.