The Benefits of Sleep for Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients

There is no shortage of literature on how important sleep is for all individuals, at any age. However, there is an added layer of importance for those living with a chronic illness.

The bodies of people living with a chronic illness are working incredibly hard (including those with a lung disease like pulmonary fibrosis), and sleep is the only way the body can rejuvenate. The physical benefits of proper sleep are endless, however there are also many mental, emotional and social benefits.

MORE: What’s a patient’s responsibility when it comes to raising awareness of PF?

Emotional
Have you ever had a moment where something happened unexpectedly and you reacted in an emotionally charged way? That doesn’t mean you reacted negatively — it could also mean that something unexpected happened and your emotions took over how you felt or your ability to process the event. This can happen to anyone at any time, however, emotional regulation and the ability to deal with something unexpected can be thrown off as a result of not getting proper sleep.

When you have a chronic illness, it’s even more important to be well-rested since appointments often don’t go as planned and test results aren’t always good news. If you’re overtired, things can seem much more overwhelming, and decisions and reactions can be influenced by emotions. There are a number of studies that highlight the relationship between sleep and psychological problems, which chronic illness patients are already more at risk of developing.

Mental
For most, the mental impact of not sleeping well is something everyone can relate to from time to time. Trying to write a paper, facilitate an important meeting, or give a presentation will all seem much harder if you’re tired. Focus, clarity and productivity can be impacted significantly when someone does not have enough sleep. For a pulmonary fibrosis patient, mental clarity can be impacted by medication, so getting proper sleep is important in order to be able to focus on daily tasks.

MORE: Four tried-and-true tips for coping with a chronic illness

Social
The impact of fatigue on someone’s social calendar may feel trivial, however, for PF patients who may be forced to cancel social plans regularly, it can have a tremendous impact on how well they cope with their disease. Social functions take a lot of energy for PF patients, and they often have to pick carefully which ones they attend, especially if they’re close together. If a patient is struggling with sleep, they may not be able to attend the one event they planned to. Missing important social events only isolates a PF patient, and although it’s not intentional, it can set off a wave of other emotions as well.

Physical
This is likely the easiest one for others to understand: sleep is what helps the body reenergize and therefore with proper rest, a patient will physically be able to do more, which includes internal functions. Things like digestion, blood circulation, and the ability to absorb oxygen and nutrients, or fight off viruses and bacteria, all require energy. Therefore, sleep is not only important to physically reenergize your body and leave you feeling able to complete your daily tasks, it’s equally important for the internal functions your body is physically completing on a daily basis.

MORE: Four breathing exercises for pulmonary fibrosis patients

Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!
×
Thanks for stopping by my column! My name is Charlene Marshall and I was diagnosed officially with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) on April 7 2016 after 13 months of various tests, hospitalizations and misdiagnoses, such as bronchitis and asthma. Due to my age, the specialist disclosed that he was unsure how the IPF would manifest itself in terms of progression, and whether it would be fast or slow and what the course of my illness might look like. Not much has changed since then, meaning there is still a lot that remains unknown, which is largely due to my age and how “rare” it is for someone under 30 to receive a diagnosis of IPF. That being said, a lot has changed for me in the time since diagnosis and I am looking forward to sharing some of those changes with you through this online platform, and I invite you along for the ride! Throughout this column I intend to chronicle the experience of living with an invisible, yet fatal disease as a young adult and share some stories about how IPF has impacted every aspect of my life, both good and bad, thus far. I plan on highlighting the challenges (and where I can, the positives…) that come with living with IPF and the impact on social and intimate relationships, finances, family dynamics, facing mortality, infertility, travelling, medication side effects, career goals and so much more as it arises for me as a “new” patient. I hope others’ with similar experiences will reach out as no story trumps any other, nor should any go unheard. For now, let me leave you with some personal details about who I am, outside of my IPF diagnosis. I grew up in a small town in south-western Ontario and still live within Ontario, although in a much bigger city. My favorite sport is/was underwater hockey (yes, it is a thing: look it up on YouTube), I love working with people, I work full-time in the Social Work/Social Services field, I am an avid learner filled with heaps of curiosity for the world, which lead me to start my Masters Degree in 2014. I am in the last few months of my Masters Degree and am looking forward to an upcoming trip to Australia more than I’ve looked forward to anything before. Welcome to the shambles and chaos that is my life!

4 comments

    • Charlene Marshall says:

      Hi Valerie,

      Thank you for reading my columns and for sharing a bit about your brother’s story. Wishing him the very best, and that his transplant is successful!

      Keeping you in my thoughts.
      Charlene.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *