It’s time to wake up.
Sleep makes up a full third of our lives. However, for those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), this natural cycle can be disturbed, crucially affecting how the body functions. Poor sleep quality has been linked to COPD as early as 1976, and disturbances in sleep have continued to play a large role in the decline in quality of life for those with the disease.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to give you the information you need to better your sleep and improve your well-being.
Effects on the Body
Studies have shown that the quality of sleep is significantly compromised in many patients with COPD, and as sleep allows the body to heal itself, the lack of it can weaken the immune system. For those with COPD, the time it takes to get to sleep is longer than those who don’t, and often, the sleep is lighter and less satisfying.
In patients with COPD, sleep-related complaints rank third behind shortness of breath and fatigue. To further complicate matters, analysis has shown that those who experience respiratory exacerbations throughout the day often have greater trouble sleeping at night.
In a recent study done by The Tucson Epidemiologic Study of Obstructive Airways Disease, they found that 53% of patients with chronic bronchitis experienced difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep, while 26% complained of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Currently, it’s unknown why COPD tends to worsen at night, but scientists have theorized that this may be due to inflammation and circadian variations in pulmonary function.
Effects on the Mind
Although the effects of lack of sleep on the body can be devastating, the mind can suffer greatly as well. Sleep deprivation has been used as a method of interrogation since the 1970s and continues to be studied today for its negative effects on memory and mental function. Through a lack of uninterrupted deep-sleep, a variety of conditions can occur:
- Impaired cognitive function
- Psychiatric problems
- A lack of memory retention
- Difficulty being attentive
And most notably:
- Driver fatigue- (of which 250,000 accidents a year are directly related)
These conditions can occur gradually as quality of sleep begins to decline, but the dangers they present can be damaging to one’s quality of life. Although the effects of troubled sleep brought on by COPD can alter the body in a variety of ways, it’s possible to fight back.
What You Can Do
- Sleep on your stomach not your back
- Limit your naps
- Clear your throat of excessive mucus before bed
- Oxygen therapy
- Invest in some bedroom plants
- Medications such as anticholinergics, corticosteroids, b2-agonists and theophylline have been shown to improve oxygen intake and sleep quality in COPD.
The difficulties of COPD can dramatically alter the lives of those affected by it, most notably in how they sleep. The energy we store during sleep is critical to our physical and mental health, and the prolonged disruption of sleep brought on by COPD can have detrimental effects to the body and mind over time.
Although COPD currently has no cure, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of stem cell research. As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life.
If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 today to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.
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