Did you know that people with Lupus often report having sleep problems?
According to research published in the February 2014 issue of Lupus Journal, sleep disorders occur in over half of Lupus patients. The authors of the study, a research team from the University of Pisa in Pisa, Italy, examined nine previous studies that reported on the relationship between Lupus and sleep disorders. The team discovered that the majority of the nine previous studies show an association between sleep problems and “disease activity, pain, and fatigue.”
The Lupus Journal article is in line with the Lupus Foundation of America’s findings as well. They report that between 50 and 60 percent of us have sleep disorders. The Lupus Foundation of America lists three specific disorders related to Lupus patients:
- Sleep apnea, where breathing pauses for a few seconds or even minutes and restarts with a loud snore or choking sound.
- Chronic insomnia, where you have trouble falling or staying asleep three times a week for at least a month.
- Periodic limb movement sleep, when your legs or arms twitch or move every 10 to 60 seconds while you sleep.
These disorders cause us to wake up often and get less sleep. When we get less sleep, the fatigue commonly associated with Lupus gets worse; and our already compromised immune systems are negatively affected. Personally, I suffer with chronic insomnia related to my level of joint pain and headaches keeping me awake most nights.
If you have sleep problems related to Lupus, the Lupus Foundation of America recommends seeing your doctor to discuss your issue and ask for a recommendation to a sleep specialist. Depending on your issue, you may be referred to an accredited sleep study center or a behavioral sleep medicine specialist.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine: http://www.sleepeducation.com/find-a-facility
Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine: http://www.behavioralsleep.org/WhatIsBSM.aspx
Article abstract in Lupus Journal: http://lup.sagepub.com/content/23/2/115.abstract#cited-by
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/rls/signs
What Is Insomnia? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/inso
What Is Sleep Apnea? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea
Do you have any Lupus-related sleep problems? If so, please share your story with us. The more we share about our experience with Lupus, the more we know—together….