The official blog of the Lung Institute.
At the Lung Institute, we recognize that sleep is important to overall well-being and vital for people with lung disease. Sleep makes up a third of our lives, if we’re getting enough of it. But for those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), this natural cycle, known as the circadian rhythm, is often disturbed, to the detriment of the body’s essential functions. Trouble sleeping was linked with COPD as early as 1976, and sleep disturbances often play a significant role in the decline of quality of life for people with the disease. Sleep deprivation can be frustrating, but there are things to consider that might help. So, let’s discuss COPD and Sleep.
Designate a Time and Place for Sleep
It is often suggested that one’s bed should be used as a place to sleep, and for very little else. Perhaps the bed, despite its warmth and comfort, isn’t the best place to enjoy books or watch TV. When a person is drowsy, it’s time for bed. Establishing a routine of only sleeping in bed may train the brain feel sleepy when the head hits the pillow after a long day. People who lie in bed for 30 minutes or longer without falling asleep might try a visit to the kitchen for something to drink. Reading until drowsy can help. For best results, establish a routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and rise at the same time every morning.
Change Sleeping Position
When it comes to COPD and sleep, adjusting sleeping position can help with easier breathing. Sitting in an upright position, though extremely effective in making breathing easier, doesn’t always make for a comfortable night’s sleep. Sleeping on one’s side is a more comfortable alternative that avoids troublesome tension in the throat. Sleeping on the side opens the airways and can decrease the risk of having trouble breathing during the night.
Head position can also make a positive difference in the quality of sleep. When one’s head is lying flat, the airways are restricted. Support the head, but be mindful of the amount of head support. Too many pillows can cause as much airway interference as none.
Sleep disturbance and insomnia can be a side effect of certain prescription medicines, so discussing the issue with a doctor is a wise course of action if sleep is disturbed to the point that it becomes a chronic problem.
COPD and Sleep: Be Aware of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects up to 15 percent of people with COPD. The percentage is the same for the general population. However, sleep apnea in COPD sufferers complicates life with the disease. Sleep apnea decreases oxygen levels and causes the airway to collapse, so lung function is further impaired in patients with both disorders.
Sleep apnea can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes. For those who snore, wake up gasping for air, have morning headaches or fall asleep at inappropriate times, sleep apnea could be the culprit. A sleep test to check for sleep apnea can answer the question of whether a person is suffering from the condition. Sleep apnea is treatable, and getting it under control can add years to one’s life. If you have stage IV COPD, you may be able to try this therapy. You can also ask your doctor about continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a device also used to treat sleep apnea.
Stem Cell Therapy: A Promising Option
Issues with COPD and sleep often go hand in hand. COPD dramatically alters the lives of those affected by it, often in how they sleep. Recharging our bodies during sleep is critical to physical and mental health, and any prolonged disruption of sleep will have detrimental effects on the body and mind over time.
Although COPD has no cure, new discoveries are made in the field of stem cell research. As the scientific community continues to delve into the mysteries of the human body, the Lung Institute brings these advancements to the public in the form of real treatments that have helped many people with chronic lung disease improve their lives.
If it’s time to make a change in your life or the life of someone you love who has a progressive 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. Meanwhile, we wish you sweet dreams and a good night’s sleep.