Dialysis patients experience a high burden of physical and emotional symptoms directly affecting their sleep and quality of life. In this study, objective and subjective measurements to quantify sleep were performed, compared with those of healthy controls, and associated with burden of comorbidity and uraemic toxicity.
A total of 64 dialysis patients were included—10 peritoneal dialysis, 42 in-centre daytime haemodialysis (HD) and 12 in-centre nocturnal HD patients—as well as one-to-one age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Assumed and actual sleep time, sleep efficiency and fragmentation index were measured by actigraphy for at least two consecutive nights. Patients and controls also completed Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaires. The patients’ blood was sampled to determine concentrations of a representative series of uraemic toxins and the Davies–Stoke comorbidity index was derived from medical records.
Apart from the assumed sleep time, all objectively and subjectively measured sleep parameters were worse in the dialysis group compared with the healthy controls. No differences were seen in any of the measured sleep parameters among the different dialysis groups. None of the objectively measured sleep parameters were associated with ISI or PSQI scores in dialysis patients, while sleep times were related to the subjective scores in the healthy cohort. Objectively assessed sleep parameters were associated to neither the uraemic toxicity load nor the Davies–Stoke score.
Independent of the modality, dialysis patients have sleep quality much worse than age- and gender-matched healthy controls. The objectively measured sleep parameters could not be associated to the subjective score, uraemic toxicity or comorbidity score, highlighting the need for objective measurements of sleep and clinical guidelines to aid patient management.