Did you know that many people who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), find it hard to get a good night’s sleep? In fact, over a third of IBD sufferers say they can’t sleep well and experience insomnia, according to a recent study.
The study showed that insomnia can have a big impact on quality of life. Here, we look at the findings of the recent research, and what steps you can take if your IBD is causing you sleepless nights.
Study shows insomnia tied to active IBD
Researchers from the Flinders Medical Centre in Bedford Park, Australia, carried out an online survey involving 670 IBD patients. It revealed ‘active IBD’, when a patient’s condition is not well controlled causing symptoms including belly pain, and significant anxiety and depression, was significantly tied to insomnia. It also found that over a third of patients suffer with some level of sleep disturbance.
There hasn’t been much research carried out to determine how sleepless nights are connected to IBD. However, when it comes to other long-term health issues, not being able to sleep has been tied to a poorer quality of life.
Past research has shown that those with IBD who have a hard time sleeping, experience more severe symptoms, and this affects their overall well-being.
Screening for IBD patients
Results from the study highlight the need for insomnia screening in those who are diagnosed with IBD. In this study, a score of 14 or above on a scale called the ‘Insomnia Severity Index’ meant that a person’s insomnia was serious enough to need addressing.
Identifying sleep problems early is crucial. Thankfully, there are effective ways to treat the condition and improve the life for those struggling with both IBD and sleep issues. However, getting an early diagnosis is essential because if sleep issues persist, they can be more difficult to treat.
Treating IBD related insomnia
If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, while also dealing with the symptoms of IBD, there are treatments available. The initial step is to verify that insomnia is what’s causing the sleep issues, as other conditions like sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome, or inadequate sleep practices might be to blame.
If insomnia is found to be the culprit, it’s critical to assess how much it’s affecting your daily life. Is it causing you to miss out on social gatherings, work commitments, or even making it challenging to carry out everyday tasks like driving or shopping?
If insomnia is taking a toll on your lifestyle, consulting a sleep specialist can be highly beneficial. You’ll want to manage your IBD symptoms effectively too, since they can also influence the quality of your sleep.
Don’t let sleepless nights with IBD hold you back; schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist to discuss treatment options.