Back to Journals » Nature and Science of Sleep » Volume 10

Sleep disturbances in patients with liver cirrhosis: prevalence, impact, and management challenges

Authors Bruyneel M, Sersté T

Received 6 September 2018

Accepted for publication 9 October 2018

Published 2 November 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 369—375


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea

Marie Bruyneel,1 Thomas Sersté2,3

1Sleep Unit, Department of Pneumology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint Pierre, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; 2Department of Hepato-gastroenterology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint Pierre, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; 3Liver Transplantation Unit, Department of Hepato-gastroenterology, Erasme Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

Abstract: Sleep–wake disturbances are common in liver cirrhosis and associated with impaired quality of life. The most common abnormalities are insomnia (difficulties falling asleep and maintaining sleep, or unrefreshing sleep), excessive daytime sleepiness, and sleep–wake inversion (disturbances of circadian rhythmicity). The underlying pathophysiological mechanisms for sleep disturbances in cirrhosis are complex and may include disturbed metabolism of melatonin and glucose, alterations in thermoregulation, and altered ghrelin secretion profiles. Sleep–wake abnormalities are related to the presence of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and improvement in sleep parameters can be observed when HE is properly managed. A few non-specific treatments for sleep–wake abnormalities have been tried with encouraging results for hydroxyzine and modafinil. However, due to the potential for medication toxicity in these disabled patients, further studies are needed to address the potential role of non-drug therapies in this population (eg, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, yoga) that have demonstrated usefulness in insomnia disorders.

Keywords: sleep disorders, hepatic encephalopathy, liver cirrhosis, excessive daytime sleepiness, circadian rhythm, insomnia

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]