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Can Sleep Deprivation Cause PMR?

Hello Everyone

This is my first time - please be gentle with me!

I was wondering if there might be a connection between long-term sleep problems and developing PMR. I've only slept the night through on a handful of occasions in the last 9 years or so and feel sure that's probably a factor in now being diagnosed with PMR. Does anyone else with this illness or GCA have a history of poor sleep?

Thanks everyone.

Take care.

8 Replies

I can only speak from my own experience. I have PMR despite being a world class sleeper. But others may have a different story.


I can sleep for Britain too and have PMR!

However - it isn't known what triggers PMR. It is caused by an underlying autoimmune disorder, like many other illnesses. It has been suggested it may be a virus, chemicals, other illnesses but no one knows. What is fair to say is that stress often can be identified in the clinical history and that many people have been "copers" or carers or have recently had a stressful event like a house move.

Long term sleep deprivation can be associated with all sorts of things - it is certainly a stressful thing if it is something that worries you. Have you never had sleep studies done to identify a cause? You should because there are causes that can be dealt with.


I was referred to the Sleep Clinic but they didn't identify a cause. To be honest I think it's become a habit now. It began when I was carer for my mum for a few years until her passing and then immediately continued to be carer for my dad until he passed away two years later. It was a terrible time and although my carer days ended years ago the nightly wanderings continue. Habits are so hard to break!


Thanks for your reply Annodomini, I guess we'll never really know what causes this awful condition.


Hello SeasideSue and welcome! I too am a very poor sleeper - always have been.

Because it is an autoimmune disease, although sleep deprivation is unlikely to actually be the cause PMR it may be a factor in triggering an autoimmune response in some people. This is because of the stress undergone by the body as well as malfunction of normal immune responses in repeated sleep deprivation.

The stress hormone cortisol continues to be released at a relatively high level at night (when it should be at a low level) during wakefulness, possibly leading to adrenal fatigue and a reduction in the ability to withstand stress. Other hormones are also disrupted when there is lack of sleep.

In addition, the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6, is decreased during lack of sleep, whereas other inflammation chemicals are increased. The disruption of these cytokines possibly disrupt normal immune functioning.

It's a vicious cycle. The more stressed you are the less you sleep and the less sleep you get the more stressed you get. I really hope you get to sleep normally soon. I am finding I sleep better now I'm on moderate doses of prednisolone as I'm less stressed. High doses kept me awake though!

Take care, Badgergirl


Thanks Badgergirl, for the information - that does all make sense. I'm glad you're sleeping better now. Look after yourself.


Hi yes most definitely I have GCA and over the last 10 years have only had a hand full of nights when I have slept right through due to family problems and lots of stress and I mean real stress due to family again I was diagnosed with GCA in January 2012 and at that time I started getting counseling for my family problems and feeling so very ill with my new illness the counseling I am still getting and feeling better every month with my illness subsiding now and getting down on my steroids and other medication reduction as well, starting to feel my old self again,mind you I do not know what I would have done if this forum did not exist good luck and kind regards ritter Anne


I'm so very glad that the counselling is helping and that your illness is now subsiding. You really have had a very tough time. I do hope the improvement continues and that it won't be too long until you're fully recovered. All good wishes, Sue.


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