Autoimmune diseases are common that affect more than 50 million America. People with diseases are often faced with fatigue, insomnia, and swelling. Moreover, they’re more likely to suffer from sleep problems. If you’re wondering why people with autoimmune diseases are more prone to sleep problems, keep reading this article. It presents the reasons as well as solutions for autoimmune diseases and sleep problems.
Sleep Problems Could Be a Warning Sign of Autoimmune Disease
For people with chronic illnesses or autoimmune diseases, the levels pro-inflammatory cytokines increase. This makes you more tired and encourages you to sleep more that helps you to recover from diseases. However, if the levels of cytokines continue to increase and break deep, your sleep can be affected. You may sleep restlessly during the illnesses. Thus, sleep problems or chronic fatigue could be warning signs of an autoimmune disease.
Sometimes, these symptoms can be disrupted. They come and go randomly. If you often experience sleep troubles or unexplained fatigue, you should ask your doctor to discover the cause of problems soon.
Why Are People With Autoimmune Diseases More Prone to Sleep Problems
Sleep problems are normal for everyone. But these are more likely to occur in people with autoimmune diseases. Here’re the reasons why people with diseases often have sleep problems.
- Pain reduces your sleep quality. People with autoimmune diseases, especially arthritis notice poor quality of sleep. It’s because joints become sensitive and affect the postures while sleeping. In fact, people with the disease can’t find comfortable positions on beds that can’t make them sleep well.
- The immune system attacks cells linked to sleep processes. Some researchers recently found that narcolepsy is also an autoimmune disease. It’s caused by the damage of cells in the brain’s hypothalamus, making a neurotransmitter. This is responsible for your sleep cycle.
- Stress, depression, and mental health problems play a key. There’s a close connection between mental health conditions and autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases can lead to stress, anxiety, or depression that make you difficult to sleep. These often go in a cycle.
- Sleep problems can occur unrelated to pain. Falling asleep or difficult to sleep may occur even if your pain is controlled.
The causes of sleep problems caused by autoimmune diseases can be different from each person. To know what exactly causes your sleep troubles, try to listen to your body and ask your health specialist.
Learn More: Tips for Living With Autoimmune Diseases
Is There Any Way to Manage Sleep Problems?
People with autoimmune diseases are more prone to sleep problems. But these can certainly be controlled. The first step to manage sleep problems is to practice some changes at home. Here’re the following changes you can apply at home, including
- Set up a sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends that you can get enough sleep
- Make relaxation before bedtime, like taking bath, reading books, or listening to music
- Cut back alcohol or caffeine during the day, especially in the evening
- Make sure that your bedroom is suitable with a comfortable temperature and low levels of sound
- Have a healthy lifestyle, including good diet and physical active
- Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Although power napping helps you get through the day, you sometimes can’t fall asleep at night.
- Use bright light to control your circadian rhythms, try to avoid bright light in the evening
- Go into another room and do some relaxing techniques until you feel tired if you can’t sleep
In case your sleep problems haven’t been improved with the above tips, it’s time to consult with your doctor. She/he may recommend you to try some medical management
- Changing your medications
Your doctor will define which medications could be changed based on your symptoms and the autoimmune diseases. For example, a person with rheumatoid arthritis has sleep problems may have two treatments. The first is anti-pain treatment, like aspirin to reduce the pain and inflammation that make the patient sleep easier. If it doesn’t work, your doctor begins to depress the immune system using steroids and TNF inhibitors. In a word, depending on your symptoms, your doctor will give useful tips and regulate the medications.
Can Food Help to Improve Sleep Problems?
Apart from medical management, some types of food are beneficial for enhancing your sleep quality, such as
- Fiber-rich foods
- Berry family fruits
- Tart cherry juice
- Herbal teas, such as chamomile tea or passionflower tea
- Fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, and halibut
Besides, you can ask your doctor for extra vitamins and supplements to improve your immune system and boost your health.
- B vitamins, like vitamin B12 or vitamin B6
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- LupuFree supplement to reduce inflammation and balance the immune system
If you’re a patient with an autoimmune disease, carefully ask your doctor about supplements or extra vitamins before using.
Sleep troubles can occur in everyone. But people with autoimmune diseases are more prone to sleep problems than others. It’s because diseases cause pain, swelling, and mental health conditions that affect the quality of sleep. If your lifestyle changes don’t help to improve your sleep, you should talk with your doctor soon to find the exact causes.