Sleep And Chronic Illness | Sleep Disturbances During Chronic Illness

Sleep And Chronic Illness

An illness that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely is called as chronic illness.

However, with the help of diet, exercise, and certain medicines chronic illnesses can be controlled.

Chronic Illness

Examples of chronic illness include heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS, lupus, kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis. Although these diseases can often be controlled, they can be controlled but can't be cured.

People diagnosed with chronic illness must adjust to the burden of the illness itself, as well as to the treatments for their condition. The pain and weakness that chronic illness patients experience have a large impact on their daily lives, including sleep.

Patients often have trouble sleeping at night because of their illness, and are sleepy during the day. The illness may affect a person’s mobility and independence, and change the way a person lives, see himself or herself, and/or relates to others.

This is especially the case for people who have neurological diseases like the Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. For these reasons, a certain amount of depression and sadness is normal.


In some cases, depression is caused due to chronic illness. Depression, though treatable, is a serious medical condition by itself. One of the most common complications of chronic illness is depression.

It is estimated that up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition experience symptoms of depression. Insomnia worsens the person’s pain and quality of life. In addition, some chronic illnesses drugs can cause sleep problems.


The first step is to try to control the pain associated with the illness. Sleeping may not be a problem once the pain is controlled. Your doctor can prescribe the proper pain relieving medication that suits your condition.

Chronic illness can bring on bouts of depression, which, in turn, can lead to a derelict physical condition that interferes with successful treatment of the chronic condition.

The Following Are Some Tips To Help You Better Deal with A Chronic Illness:

  • Avoid foods that contain caffeine
  • Learn how to deal with the treatments.
  • Get help as soon as symptoms of depression appear.
  • Try to maintain confidence and a positive self-image.
  • Keep the room temperature as comfortable as possible.
  • Learn how to live with the physical effects of the illness.
  • Eat or drink foods that induce sleep, such as warm milk.
  • Make sure there is clear communication with your doctors.
  • Try to maintain emotional balance to cope with negative feelings.
  • Keep noise in the room and surrounding area down as much as possible

Non-Medical Approaches

There are a number of other non-medicinal approaches that are effective for sleep, including relaxation training, biofeedback, cognitive behavior therapy, and sleep restriction methods. A psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders most often administers these therapies.


If the non-medical approaches are not effective, there are several prescription medications to help people sleep. These agents include Ambien, Sonata, and Restoril, as well as antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and antipsychotics. For patients who have chronic illness and depression, insomnia may best be treated with tricyclic antidepressants.

It's usually a good idea to try non-drug pain-reducing methods before turning to sleep medications. It's best to use the medications for a short period only, when medications are prescribed.

If they are used for longer periods, sleep medications like Ambien can cause tolerance and psychological dependence. Talk to your doctor to find the best sleep solution for you.

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