Sleep Disorders and Scleroderma

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Overview of Sleep and Scleroderma
Restless Leg Syndrome
Sleep and Illness
Sleep and Medications
Sleep Apnea
Personal Stories


People with systemic scleroderma have disturbed sleep.

Pelican by Janet Paulmenn, ISN ArtistSystemic Sclerosis (scleroderma) is associated with sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome. Poor sleep has been found to trigger inflammation and worsen pain. It can lead to depression and make it more difficult to cope with chronic illness.

If you are not getting 8 hours of sound sleep each night, if you do not wake up feeling refreshed, or if you sleep more than 10 hours a day, and if any of these conditions have existed for more than 2 weeks, it is time to see your doctor. Be sure to ask for a sleep clinic evaluation if you have any symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring or interrupted breathing. (Also see What is Scleroderma?)

How a bad night's sleep wrecks your skin. Repeatedly having a poor night's sleep can make us look older than we are, according to a study. The Telegraph, 05/21/2015.

20 Things You Shouldn't Do Before Bed. Having trouble sleeping? These insomnia-inducing habits could be to blame. Time Healthland, 03/10/2015.

Why eating late at night may be bad for your brain. That dinner you've been putting off until late at night or bowl of ice cream you can't resist before bedtime could mess with your head. Today Health, 02/21/2015.

Beyond bed spins: Now we know why boozy snoozing is bad for slumber. While experts have known for years that pre-slumber alcohol causes poor sleep, researchers finally reveal why: drinking interrupts our brain waves as we doze. Today Health, 01/16/2015.

Drinking even one strong coffee in the afternoon can knock an HOUR off your sleep. According to scientists, drinking two or three cups of coffee, even six hours before bedtime, could cost you up to an hourís sleep. Mail On Line, 11/07/2013.

Sleep disturbances in systemic sclerosis (SSc): evidence for the role of gastrointestinal symptoms, pain and pruritus. Gastrointestinal symptoms, pain and pruritus were associated with sleep disturbance in SSc. Additional research is needed on sleep in SSc so that well-informed sleep interventions can be developed and tested. PubMed, Rheumatology, 2013 Jun 25. (Also see Gastrointestinal Involvement, Pain, and Scleroderma Skin Involvement: Itching)

Sleep quality in patients with systemic sclerosis: relationship between the clinical variables, depressive symptoms, functional status, and the quality of life. The sleep quality is disturbed in patients with SSc. The lower quality of sleep is especially associated with the pain, fatigue, depressive symptoms, and functional status. Rheumatology International, January 2013.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Fibromyalgia and Restless Leg Syndrome. Restless legs syndrome may affect up to 10% of the U.S. population. It affects both sexes but is more common in women and may begin at any age, even in young children. Most people who are affected severely are middle-aged or older. The Fibro Doctor.

Sleep Disorders and Illness

Sleep Disturbance and Illness. With the onset of chronic illness, a good night's sleep is often the first thing to go. Sometimes poor sleep is a precursor to illness, and other times it is a result. ISN.

Overview of Sleep Disorders and Illness
Suggestions for Better Sleep
Sleep Disorders and Genetics
Sleep Spindles
Immune System and Circadian Clocks
Infections and Sleep
Inflammation and Sleep
Sleep Apnea

Sleep and Medications

Medications that Interfere with Sleep include some antidepressants, heart and blood pressure medications, allergy medications, stimulants (such as Ritalin), corticosteroids, pain medication combinations, decongestants and weight-loss products. Antihistamines may initially make you groggy, but they can worsen urinary problems, causing you to get up to urinate more during the night. Mayo Clinic.

For older drivers, sleep meds are linked with car accidents. Drivers over age 80 or women over age 70 who take the prescription sleeping pill Ambien tend to have more motor vehicle collisions, according to a new study. Reuters Health, 01/15/2016.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea causes people to frequently stop breathing during sleep. The episodes can last for several seconds or longer. It results in unrefreshing sleep which can cause daytime sleepiness and fatigue. ISN.

Overview of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea and Autoimmune Diseases
Patient Stories

Personal Stories

Aileen: CREST Scleroderma Oh, the wonderful feeling to have a doctor sit there and tell you that you are not imagining things…

Ang: Morphea and Fibromyalgia I was diagnosed with morphea in February 2002, but had this for a year prior to that without knowing exactly what the diagnosis was…

Brenda: Limited Scleroderma, CREST, Raynaud's I was sick for five or six years, telling doctors how much pain I was in…

More Sleep Disorder Personal Stories…

Go to Sleep Disorders and Illness
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