Proper Sleep and IBS

Last updated: December 2021

As many things as we all rely on to get us through IBS, there are a few that are always going to come first on the list of "most important." While I know that people understand that a good night's rest is generally important for their overall health, sometimes (not always) neglected when discussing how one should care for themselves while struggling with IBS.

Because I struggle with anxiety and bipolar disorder, it has always been drilled into me how important sleep is. In many mental health support groups, there are whole periods spent on 'sleep hygiene,' which outlines the most important factors of good sleep and how to achieve it if you have difficulty. Without going into an entire article, the main points are pretty simple:

  • No computer or phone for a good while before bed.
  • No over-eating (I don't eat at all after dinner).
  • Enough water to hydrate, not too much, or you'll be up dealing with that. LOL!
  • One of the more interesting things is the concept that your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep and sex only. This is actually a rule of good sleep hygiene.
  • It's recommended to have no electronics or even exercise in the room (unless, of course, you have a really small living environment, and you have no choice). I make an exception for meditation because it promotes a calm state of mind and does not disrupt the idea of a relaxing sanctuary.
  • Obviously, the decor and surroundings should be things that make you relaxed and that you find pleasant without stimulating you too much. I'm very much into aromatics, and certain colors and shapes definitely contribute to my ability to achieve good sleep patterns.

Managing my sleep hygiene

What's interesting is that I received all of this information regarding sleep hygiene from both my psychiatrist, therapist, and general practitioner. I figure that if all of these support people are espousing the virtues of this concept, it must be pretty important and worthwhile to try.

I've been at this a long time and have never had a problem sleeping until COVID isolation began almost 2 years ago now. It started as general trouble sleeping and eventually transformed into full-blown insomnia. You do not want to have to struggle with IBS and insomnia. This is not a fun combination.

After increasing my daily activity, exercising more, and re-establishing my strict sleep hygiene ideas, I started to return to more restful levels. I've been working with my doctor to deal with continuing issues, but things are much better than they were. Thank you for letting me share, and I hope that I can bring some new thoughts to the table regarding getting ready for bed.

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