Do patients with alopecia areata have altered sleep quality?
To date, there have been relatively few studies looking an the impact of alopecia areata on sleep quality. Other studies have shown that sleep is altered in a variety of autoimmune diseases including both rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
IN 2014, Dr. Inui and colleagues from Japan set out to examine the quality of sleep in patients with alopecia areata using a questionnaire. The specific questionnaire used was known as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (EES). This is a self administered questionnaire which allows insight in excessive daytime sleepiness. Scores of 11 or more are considered consistent with a diagnosis of excessive daytime sleepiness. The authors examined whether scores on the EES scale were correlated with the severity or duration of a patient's alopecia areata.
In total, 105 patients were studied including 33 males and 72 females. Overall, EES scores in patients with AA were not significantly different from those found in the general population. Taken together the authors concluded that overall sleep quality was similar in alopecia areata compared to the general population and that the sleep quality likely does not play a major role in the development or progression of the disease.
There are very few studies that have attempted to understand whether patients with alopecia areata have altered sleep patterns compared to patients without alopecia areata. This study would suggest that they do not and that overall sleep quality is similar in alopecia areata compared to the general population. More studies of this important topic is needed.
Inui et al. Sleep quality in patients with alopecia areata: questionnaire-based study. Int J Dermatol. 2014.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887