As with many other autoimmune diseases, celiac disease can lead to problems with sleeping. Sleep disorders are common among those with celiac disease, according to research done in Italy several years ago. Why? It might appear that the condition’s symptoms prompt disruptions to sleep, but sleep disorders were found to persist even after all other symptoms of celiac disease were successfully treated in the patients in the study.
It might seem that the general chronic discomfort that people with celiac disease experience keeps them from getting quality sleep.
Many of its symptoms could be disruptive to sleep. These include the full range of gastrointestinal problems (such as gas, diarrhea, and constipation).
Even the symptoms of celiac which don’t pertain to the stomach could be assumed to have an association with poor sleep or sleep disorders, such as:
Remarkably, results published in a 2010 study at the University of Naples found that sleep disorders experienced by people diagnosed with, but not receiving treatment for, celiac disease were unrelated to GI distress.
Afterward, when restrictive dietary measures were taken to treat celiac disease in these subjects, their sleep problems did not improve. Meanwhile other symptoms of celiac were found to improve or disappear entirely.
In fact, for the study subjects, the sleep disorders they experienced were still not fully controlled after 6 years following a gluten-free diet. This, even though their digestive tracts were shown to improve and even heal during the same time.
Ultimately, the takeway is this: People with celiac disease are far more likely to suffer from sleep disorders. Problems with sleep are now thought to be a primary symptom of the disease itself, rather than the result of symptoms. This makes disrupted sleep an important diagnostic marker for identifying and treating celiac disease.
It’s not known whether successful treatment of the sleep disorders that accompany celiac disease will result in improvements to the autoimmune condition.
But it’s worth a try. More and better sleep is always a goal for those suffering from chronic conditions, as the process of sleep allows the body to recharge and heal. With poor sleep, there’s less chance for either.
“Celiac Disease Mental Health,” Celiac Disease Foundation (nd). Accessed from the internet on April 27, 2017.
“Celiac disease: Symptoms and causes,” Mayo Clinic (August 17, 2017). Accessed from the internet on April 27, 2017.
Zingone, F., Siniscalchi, M., Capone, P., Tortora, R., Andreozzi, P., Capone, E. and Ciacci, C. (2010). “The quality of sleep in patients with coeliac disease.” Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 32: 1031–1036. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04432. Accessed from the internet on April 27, 2017.
“What is Celiac Disease?,” Celiac Disease Foundation (nd). Accessed from the internet on April 27, 2017.