The Benefits of Sleep for Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients

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by Charlene Marshall |

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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?

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.

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

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.

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.