Living With Lupus: Sleep And Your Mental Health

February 1, 2019

Living With Lupus: Sleep And Your Mental Health

Around 60 percent of lupus patients struggle with poor sleep quality or disturbances. For many of them, pain and fatigue can be both triggers and consequences since the symptoms can affect their sleep and the lack of sleep can also lead to other effects such as increased stress and anxiety in lupus patients and vice versa.

Sleep And Your Mental Health

Multiple studies have linked sleep quality to mental health and vice versa. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 20 percent of Americans are living with mental illness today. Approximately 40 percent of those seeking help for their poor sleeping habits also happen to have a mental illness.On the other hand, a majority of those seeking treatment for mental illness also battle with sleep issues as a symptom. So in other words, there is a high chance that your sleeping habits can either cause or prolong your mental illness. A large part of improving these sleep habits lie in creating the perfect wind down routine and choosing the right sleeping accessories to provide comfort and suit your bedroom.

How It Is Linked To Lupus

For lupus patients, the disease can present itself as both a physical and psychiatric condition. While lupus can affect the central nervous system, it has been known to also affect the brain. The effects of living with such a demanding long-term condition must not be forgotten either. Emotional stress is one of the most cited triggers of lupus flare-ups while patients that have brain involvement can struggle with depression and anxiety. These can also be side effects from medications prescribed. In 2017, the link between systemic lupus erythematosus patients and anxiety was further upheld in a study titled ‘Prevalence of depression and anxiety in systemic lupus erythematosus: a systematic review and meta-analysis’.

Considering the established relationship between sleep quality and mental health; it follows that improvement of your sleeping patterns can positively impact your mental health which itself is linked to the lupus condition. Some of the side effects such as pain, medications and psychiatric disorders can interfere with sleep quality. Not getting the recommended hours of sleep can have long-term effects such as memory loss, anxiety and depression, and fatigue.

Getting A Better Night’s Sleep

There are many simple things you can try at home to try and improve your sleep, and eventually positively affect both your mental health and lupus diagnosis. Studies suggest that blue light devices such as televisions, tablets, and smartphones be avoided for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. In the bedroom, efforts should be made to have a calm, relaxing atmosphere. The quality and support of your mattress and pillows also make a huge difference to the quality of your sleep.

Finally, a calming pre-bedtime routine should be established. Choose one that is specific to your circumstances and personality. Exercise before bed can be a great wind down tool and reduce any feelings of fatigue. However, take into account any symptom flare-ups; you should reduce or stop any exercise in these cases. If in doubt, have a conversation with your doctor who will be able to pinpoint the perfect balance for your diagnosis.

Written by, Jess Walter