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Sleep and Inflammation

Sleep and inflammation are uniquely and inherently linked. They both share a common regulator – namely, circadian rhythms which dictate our 24-hour sleep / wake cycles. In addition, the two processes influence each other greatly. Juggling sleep and chronic pain throughout this cycle is miserable for anyone.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re more prone to chronic inflammation. This in turn leads to symptoms like swelling, fever, stiffness, and chronic pain. And it can even lead to inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Likewise, if you have chronic inflammation, you won’t be able to sleep well, leading to an unhealthy cycle.

But in addition to this co-dependent relationship, there are a few more facts about sleep and inflammation to know.

You’ll want to keep reading, especially if you:

  • are prone to inflammation
  • do not get enough sleep
  • have a sleeping disorder, like obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia.

So read on to learn a little more about these processes connect, and how they can affect – or exacerbate – each other.

Three Facts About Sleep and Inflammation

1. It only takes one bad night of sleep to enhance inflammation

Have you ever tossed and turned all night long?

Chances are that you feel stiff, tender, or achy the next day, and this isn’t a coincidence!

The influence that sleep has on inflammation is very significant. And according to recent studies, just a single night of insufficient sleep is enough to activate the processes in the body that lead to inflammation.

One study found that a root cause of this phenomenon is the uptick of the levels of protein complex NF-kB when we’re unable to sleep well, which is a powerful signal that stimulates inflammation throughout the body.

Because every night of sleep counts, it’s essential to stay on a regular bedtime schedule, and to get an ample amount of sleep nightly, to reduce your risk for inflammation the next day.


2. Stress affects the sleep and inflammation connection

Stress is obviously an obstacle when it comes to your ability to fall asleep, but it also make you more vulnerable to inflammation as well.

This is because stress is an underlying trigger for both insomnia and sleep issues, as well as the body’s tendency towards inflammation, which in turn, can exacerbate issues with both.

So if you want to sleep better while combatting inflammation, getting excess stress and anxiety under control is key.


 3. Sleep apnea hurts your sleep and increases your risk for chronic pain and inflammation

The role of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in chronic inflammation is continually being studied by researchers and physicians alike.

But one thing is clear – having OSA puts you at a much higher risk of chronic inflammation and inflammatory diseases. Obviously, a big reason for this is because you are never getting quality sleep when OSA is left untreated, so your body’s immune system and inflammation levels are continually and severely affected.


So if you are concerned about your sleep quality, and are prone to that stiff and achy feeling during the day, the best thing you can do is to get tested for a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. Because sleep and inflammation are so closely linked, addressing a sleep disorder can lower your risks for inflammation and many other health complications.

Not sure how to get started? Contact us to see how we can help you get back to sleeping well and feeling better.

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Sleep and Inflammation
Sleep and inflammation are closely linked, but the relationship is stronger than you think. See what you need to know about sleep and chronic pain.