Many members of my support group on facebook complain of insomnia. it is clearly a symptom and can also be a cause of Fatty liver disease. The sad truth is that our livers heal over night. So if we are not getting to the REM level of sleep then the liver is not healing.
Fatty Liver Disease
There are two types of fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic and alcohol-induced. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where there is an accumulation of fat in the liver even if you do not drink alcohol or drink only a little. This type of fatty liver disease is common, and often has no complications or symptoms. However, it can cause scarring and inflammation in your liver. Alcohol-induced fatty liver is also an accumulation of too much fat in the liver. It is the most common type of alcohol-induced liver disorder. This causes your liver to enlarge, which may lead to discomfort on the upper right side of your abdomen.
Sleep disturbances like insomnia are common among people with liver disease. However, excessive sleeping, called hypersomnia, is also common for liver disease patients. Often, people alternate between insomnia and hypersomnia, which contributes to general fatigue. The exact reason for these sleep disturbances is unclear. It is possible that liver disease causes alterations in how the body makes melatonin, which is a substance that helps you sleep. Smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages can contribute to sleeping problems too, as can some medications. Prednisone, interferon, ribavirin and propanolol are all associated with insomnia.
Cirrhosis is a diseased liver that is severely scarred. One of the causes of cirrhosis is nonalcoholic steatohepatits, which is the more severe type of nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases. Other causes include chronic hepatitis B or C and longstanding abuse of alcohol. The liver damage from cirrhosis can can disrupt the brain’s chemical pathways, which alters sleep patterns. “The American Journal of Gastroenterology” reported in May 2008 that the antihistamine hydroxyzine restored normal sleep patterns in a study involving cirrhosis patients suffering from insomnia.
Another sleep issue that fatty liver sufferers can have is obstructive sleep apnea. Many people with obstructive sleep apnea are obese, which puts them at risk for fatty liver. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing stops and starts repeatedly while sleeping. Both insomnia and hypersomnia are signs of obstructive sleep apnea. A study in “Hepatology” journal published in June 2005 found that of the 163 patients with obstructive sleep apnea in the study, there was a significantly higher percentage of fatty liver disease in the most severe cases.
Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. If you have insomnia, then you likely do not feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning. This is common among people with fatty liver disease. Insomnia can have many causes, from anxiety to poor sleeping habits, but fatty liver disease is also a possible cause.
Sleep is as important to your health as a healthy diet and regular exercise are. Whatever your reason for sleep loss, insomnia affects people both mentally and physically. The impact can be cumulative, with chronic insomnia likely to precede depression, anxiety, internal organ or chronic pain disorders. Additionally, lack of sleep slows your problem-solving skills and may cause someone to take unnecessary risks.
Variations on sleeplessness include problems falling asleep, maintaining sleep or experiencing non-restorative sleep. Because sleep rejuvenates the psyche and immune system, insomnia affects energy level, mood and overall health. The result of poor sleep is fatigue, which always perpetuates chronic illness. Long-term sleep deprivation increases the severity of chronic disease, including all kinds of liver disease.
When it comes to liver disease, the following are popular culprits for insomnia:
· Stress or Anxiety – Concerns about your health may keep your mind overly active, making relaxation and therefore a restful sleep difficult.
· Sleep Apnea – Affecting over 12 million Americans, obstructive sleep apnea interrupts the sleep cycle, resulting in poor quality sleep and fatigue. Additionally, French researchers have discovered that sleep apnea is a significant risk factor for fatty liver disease.
· Interferon Treatment – Interferon medication is the favored medical treatment for viral Hepatitis B and C. Although temporary, insomnia is a common side effect of interferon therapy.
· Cirrhosis – In people who have cirrhosis of the liver, histamine levels in the brain are often altered. In the brain, histamine regulates the sleep-wake cycle, so if levels of this chemical get out of balance, so do the person’s sleep patterns.
· Related Illnesses – Patients with liver disease often suffer from other related illnesses, including type-2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension – all of which can have insomnia as a symptom.
If a person’s sleep cycle is interrupted, the deepest, most restorative stages of sleep are never reached and the person will feel fatigued. By controlling the stages of sleep in your brain, some chemicals slow down brain waves, helping you fall asleep, while others stimulate brain waves, causing you to dream and wake. Alcohol disrupts these normal actions, ultimately hindering the quality of your sleep.
Conquering Insomnia : here are seven suggestions to encourage sound sleep:
1. Establish a sleep routine, retiring and rising at the same time each day.
2. Maintain an environment conducive to sleep by keeping your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
3. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and big meals in the evening.
4. Try relaxing before bedtime with a warm bath or other soothing evening ritual.
5. Because fatigue typically causes restless sleep, break an unhealthy sleep cycle. Proven to increase energy levels by up to 40 percent without stimulants, try supplementing with to ensure adequate energy levels during the day for exercise and then restful sleep at night.
6. Do not have a visible bedroom clock. “Clock watching” often intensifies insomnia. Turn the clock face away from you or put it in a drawer.
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