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Medical Conditions That Can Affect Sleep

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Sleep is an important component to good health. Getting enough sleep every night is necessary for the body to function properly and for it to carry out necessary cellular activities.

When someone does not get enough sleep, it can have serious consequences. For example, sleep deprivation can affect hand-eye coordination and judgment, which can be dangerous in situations such as driving.

But sometimes, the reason for the sleep deprivation may be out of the individual’s control. Several different medical and psychiatric conditions can affect sleep.

The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute stated that “it is recognized that medical illnesses can adversely affect sleep quality, and that pain, infection and inflammation can induce symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue.”

When an individual is dealing with pain or discomfort from a medical condition, it can affect her quality of sleep. For example, Harvard Medical School noted that pain can affect how deep a sleep an individual has, thus resulting in only brief periods of time in which she is able to get sleep.

So what kinds of medical conditions can affect an individual’s sleep? Many common physiological conditions can interfere in a person’s quality of sleep.

Examples include arthritis — both adult and juvenile — diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Some women may have difficulty sleeping when they are dealing with pre-menstrual syndrome.

Injuries, such as head injuries, may affect an individual’s sleep. Several serious health conditions, such as cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, end-stage renal disease and HIV, may result in sleeping problems.

Some types of medical conditions may cause sleep disorders. For example, patients with central sleep apnea stop breathing during sleep.

Health conditions related to this sleep disorder include primary hypoventilation syndrome, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, bulbar poliomyelitis, encephalitis or stroke of the brain stem, congestive heart failure and degeneration of the cervical spine.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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