Sleep Impairment: A Trigger for Relapse in IBD?

David A. Johnson, MD


January 23, 2014

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In This Article

Sleep and IBD

Hello. I'm Dr. David Johnson, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. Welcome back to another installment of GI Common Concerns -- Computer Consult .

Today I would like to discuss something that has been keeping me up at night -- the role of sleep abnormalities in disease. I would like to shift the focus from gastroesophageal reflux disease to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Could we treat our patients with IBD by looking for sleep deprivation or other sleep abnormalities as modifiable therapeutic opportunities? Could optimizing the sleep cycle have the physiologic effect of preventing flares of IBD?

Sleep dysfunction is very common. Most of you have some sleep dysfunction, if you are like normal Americans. An estimated 50-70 million people are affected by sleep disorders and meet the criteria for sleep dysfunction.[1]

Why is sleep dysfunction an issue in IBD? Sleep dysfunction is evident in other diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, and also in those diseases with an inflammatory component, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, HIV, and multiple sclerosis. Sleep abnormalities have been defined in these patient populations.


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