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Daytime Napping Associated With Increased Symptom Severity In Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Monday 7 September 2015


From BMC Musculotskeletal Disorders:


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Daytime napping associated with increased symptom severity in fibromyalgia syndrome

Alice Theadom1*
Mark Cropley2
Thomas Kantermann3 4

*Corresponding author: Alice Theadom

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2015, 16:13 doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0464-y

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Received: 18 May 2014
Accepted: 15 January 2015
Published: 7 February 2015

© 2015 Theadom et al.; licensee BioMed Central.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.



Previous qualitative research has revealed that people with fibromyalgia use daytime napping as a coping strategy for managing symptoms against clinical advice. Yet there is no evidence to suggest whether daytime napping is beneficial or detrimental for people with fibromyalgia. The purpose of this study was to explore how people use daytime naps and to determine the links between daytime napping and symptom severity in fibromyalgia syndrome.


A community based sample of 1044 adults who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome by a clinician completed an online questionnaire. Associations between napping behavior, sleep quality and fibromyalgia symptoms were explored using Spearman correlations, with possible predictors of napping behaviour entered into a logistic regression model. Differences between participants who napped on a daily basis and those who napped less regularly, as well as nap duration were explored.


Daytime napping was significantly associated with increased pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, memory difficulties and sleep problems. Sleep problems and fatigue explained the greatest amount of variance in napping behaviour, p < 0.010. Those who engaged in daytime naps for >30 minutes had higher memory difficulties (t = −3.45) and levels of depression (t = −2.50) than those who napped for shorter periods (<30mins) (p < 0.010).


Frequent use and longer duration of daytime napping was linked with greater symptom severity in people with fibromyalgia. Given the common use of daytime napping in people with fibromyalgia evidence based guidelines on the use of daytime napping in people with chronic pain are urgently needed.


Daytime napping; Fibromyalgia syndrome; Sleep; Memory; Pain; Fatigue

Author Affiliations

1National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neuroscience, Auckland University of Technology, 90 Akoranga Drive, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, New Zealand

2Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, Surrey, UK

3Chronobiology Unit, Groningen institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

4Institute for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Clinical Centre Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Ziemssenstrasse 1, Munich, 80336, Germany


The full report can be found here.


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