Renée M. Janssen
OBJECTIVE: Sleep is critical for one’s health and well-being, including the prevention and/or management of certain chronic health conditions. If one suffers from insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep), he/she may be at risk of developing bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. To our knowledge, there is little information in Canada linking insomnia to bowel disorders. Our goal was to employ a population-based study to ascertain the association between insomnia and bowel disorders as well as to determine if a trend exists in the relationship.
METHODS: The data originated from the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.1. The outcome variable was whether an
individual has a bowel disorder (yes/no response). The primary explanatory variable was individuals who reported having trouble sleeping most of the time (insomnia). Odds ratios were calculated to determine the association of suffering from a bowel disorder if one has insomnia.
RESULTS: We found there was a strong relationship between insomnia and bowel disorders (unadjusted odds ratio 3.73; 95% CI: 3.37 to 4.12). This association remained statistically significant (adjusted odds ratio 2.79; 95% CI: 2.51 to 3.10) even when adjusted for sex, age, self-perceived stress and the presence of chronic fatigue syndrome in our multivariate logistic regression model. We demonstrated a stepwise trend such that an increase in frequency of trouble sleeping was associated with a greater incidence of bowel disorder.
CONCLUSION: We found a strong association between insomnia and the likelihood of suffering from a bowel disorder in the Canadian population.
KEYWORDS: insomnia; bowel disorders; Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS); Crohn’s disease; irritable bowel syndrome
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