Stomach infection and diseases can be very troublesome and cause inflammation in the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis an inflammatory bowel syndrome that causes ulcers to grow in the digestive tract, which later becomes painful and affects lining of the intestine. This disorder can occur in large intestine as well as rectum. Ulcerative colitis can be very debilitating and also lead to life-threatening consequences if not taken care off at the right time.
Because of pain and inflammation in the digestive tract, it becomes very hard for the person to sleep who is suffering from this disease. Hence some adjustments and changes in lifestyle may ease the process of sleep and help you overcome pain of ulcerative colitis. Our expert Dr. Rakesh Chauhan, Senior Gastroenterologist, from Ivory Hospital, Greater Noida, tells some tips to reduce inflammation and pain for this disease.
Ways To Have Healthy Sleep with Ulcerative Colitis
1. Change your sleeping position
Sleeping position makes a great deal in terms of relieving pain and having better sleep. Choose a sleep position in which you feel more comfortable, mostly sleep straight against your back. This sleeping position suits most of the people who suffer from this disease. Certain sleeping positions may increase the flares and inflammation in intestines. So to reduce the symptoms and inflammation it is better to change your sleeping position till ulcerative colitis gets treated.
2. Revise your Medications
This is required because sometimes the medications which are going are not that effective on your body and needs to be changed. If the medication is not helping you with the disease, then it might increase pain rather than giving relief from it. Also certain UC medicines can also cause difficulty in sleeping like corticosteroids. This medication is used for controlling ulcerative colitis flares but it gets hard to sleep after taking this medicine. You need to consult you doctor for change in medication or alternative medicine. The doctor may advice you the following-
- To change medication
- Switching treatment method
- Adding some medicine or pills to help you sleep
- Changing the time of medication to day time
3. Eat Dinner Early
Having dinner meals early can also create an impact on your sleep cycle. Having food late at night does not allow proper digestion and disturbs your sleep. Therefore having a meal well before sleep can improve your sleep position and provide you more comfort. For this you need to eat dinner almost 2 hours before going to sleep. This process may also reduce your urge to go to washroom in middle of the night which will prevent your sleep to be broken in between. During ulcerative colitis, taking heavy meals should be avoided and minimized as much as possible. Having snack in middle or late night might also trigger ulcerative colitis and cause heavy pain later.
Triggers of UC related to diet include the following-
- Insoluble fibre
- Spicy ingredients
4. Improve your Mental Health
This might look tricky as what has mental health as to do with sleeping and pain. But this is a fact that mental health can trigger ulcerative conditions and impact sleep of a person. As normal as anxiety affects sleep, the process remains the same. Poor sleep is associated with depression and symptoms related to mental health are related to ulcerative and digestive conditions. If you experience anxiety, depression, or any state of mental health problem, then consult an expert immediately. Also you need to remember that mental health disorders affect sleep but ulcerative colitis can be a reason for these mental health disorders too.
5. Practise Good Sleeping Habits
Sleeping habits are necessary for a good sleep. In normal condition, sleeping habits may not affect your health much, but during ulcerative colitis, it becomes important. Good sleeping habits include sleep hygiene and healthy. You can follow these tips for a better sleep with ulcerative colitis-
- Keep your bedroom quiet, cool and dark, this relaxes your mind and gives appropriate sleeping environment.
- Avoid big meals, alcohol or caffeinated drinks in the night or close to bedtime.
- Exercise during the day for atleast 30 minutes
- Reduce consumption and screen time of electronic gadgets close to sleeping schedule
- Stick to consistent sleep schedule for going to bed and waking up.
6. Heating Pads and Sleep Aids
Sometimes it is not possible to reduce pain even after changing position or creating a healthy sleeping environment. In that situation, you can use a heating pad and hot water bottles to reduce the pain and cramps caused by ulcerative colitis. People have given a positive response for heating pads in condition like these. Heating pads can also be combined with timer, so that unknowingly you do not heat it excessively or fall asleep leaving it on.
Sleep aids such as counter medicines are given for pain relief but not all of them are safe to use for ulcerative colitis. This is because medicines that have magnesium are used for controlling pain for sleep, but magnesium can worsen the condition of Ulcerative colitis in your body. It can lead to complications and cause these health problems:-
- Addiction to drug
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