Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) is a waxing and waning disease characterized by diarrhea, abdominal pain and weight loss. IBD, which include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affects as many as 1.6 million Americans, most of whom are diagnosed before age 30. Since there is no cure to these diseases, patients are relieved when they go into remission.
Recently, there has been an increased interest in the roles that sleep, circadian rhythms and melatonin could have as regulators of inflammation in the Gl tract. It is now believed that these chronic diseases are a complex mix of genetic and environmental factors. Sleep disturbances may be one of those factors so improving sleep could potentially help manage the disease. Advances in our understanding of the biological clock of the circadian rhythm, and the discovery of clock genes in the GI tract are opening up new avenues of research for a role of sleep in IBD.
Many people understand the importance of a getting a good night’s sleep, but recent research indicates that these IBD diseases could relapse due to sleep disturbances. Having sleep disturbances ignite their symptoms can be extremely frustrating. Research has shown that sleep can modify the immune system, thus impacting chronic inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Sleep calms the inflammatory process and it also allows patients to cope better with symptoms associated with their condition, such as abdominal pain and fatigue.
Fatigue is a very non-specific symptom of many diseases and disorders. Feeling tired could also simply be the result of not getting enough sleep, or not getting enough quality sleep. In the U.S., we are constantly shortchanging ourselves on sleep, and most children and adults do not get enough. Chronic fatigue can lead to a host of other problems, including poor performance at work and school, drowsy driving, and feelings of depression. Figuring out that fatigue is one of your symptoms is not so difficult, but determining why you are tired and what to do about it is no easy task.
Let our sleep specialists help you on your journey to a good nights sleep.