Sleeping Disorders and the Effects on Health of Patients with Spinal Cord Injury

  • Michail Poulopoulos
  • Ioannis S. Benetos
  • Ioannis Vlamis
  • Spyridon G. Pneumaticos
Keywords: sleep disturbances, spinal cord injury, sleep breathing disorders, sleep movement disorders, sleep quality


Introduction: Spinal cord injury (SCI) is recognized as a disability affecting every aspect of patients’ lives. Compared to the able bodied population, sleep disturbances are more frequent in patients with SCI and can lead to dysfunction that negatively affects quality of life. However, many healthcare providers omit to determine the quality of sleep of SCI patients or are not aware of insomnia symptoms such as restless legs or sleep apnea. A review of the current literature was performed in order to highlight the association between SCI and sleep disturbances, the importance of awareness of sleep disturbance symptoms and how these affect the overall health and quality of life of SCI patients. By using the online Pubmed database and the PRISMA guidelines, studies regarding sleeping disorders and their effect on SCI patients were identified. Results: SCI patients often suffer from sleeping disturbances which can cause severe health problems. More specifically, these patients have increased risk of developing depression, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and sleep related breathing problems. Patients are also in increased risk for experiencing pain, fatigue, daytime sleepiness and loss of communication. Conclusion: Sleep disturbances are associated with SCI in a great extend and can lead to multiple medical complications. The pivotal role that sleep is having in overall health and quality of life cannot be underestimated.


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Author Biographies

Michail Poulopoulos

 3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery NKUA, KAT Hospital, e-mail:

Ioannis S. Benetos

MD, Academic fellow of Orthopaedic Surgery, 3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery NKUA, KAT Hospital

Ioannis Vlamis

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, 3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery NKUA, KAT Hospital

Spyridon G. Pneumaticos

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, 3rd Department of Orthopaedic Surgery NKUA, KAT Hospital


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