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Sleep Disturbance in Palliative Care 

Sleep Disturbance in Palliative Care
Sleep Disturbance in Palliative Care

Rebecca Burke

and Sriram Yennurajalingam

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date: 25 January 2020

Sleep disturbance is a persistent source of suffering in palliative care patients. Symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, early awakening, or nonrestorative sleep are all indicative of sleep disorders. Poor sleep can have consequential effects on perception of pain, fatigue, mood, and quality of life. It is not only a prevalent symptom in the primary care population but also may in fact affect more than 60% of the palliative care population. In addition to the complexities of treatment, insomnia often serves as a red herring to alarm physicians of underlying conditions. Therefore, it is essential that palliative care physicians maintain a high index of suspicion for such confounding conditions as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and delirium. This chapter highlights the intricacies of sleep disturbance and focuses on the most common patient presentations.

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