Dear IBS, Please Let Me Sleep
Last updated: October 2021
Lately, I’ve started having fewer IBS flares in the morning. Instead of waking up sick and ready to spend the following 2 hours in the bathroom, I just got up and had breakfast. Yes, breakfast! And right after waking up! It’s been so long since I had breakfast that I almost forgot what it looked like.
I was feeling good, happy, ready to prepare a going away party for my IBS. But what was I so excited about? Did I not know that IBS never leaves just like that?
In this case, it left me a nice little present: late-night flares! That was something I had never experienced before.
Oh, you’re tired? Time for some IBS action!
Around the same time my morning IBS went away, I started getting flares right when I was ready to go to bed. They are perfectly timed, with so much precision that it’s almost scary.
If I dare say something like "I’m tired, I’ll be going to bed now" my IBS kicks in. The meals I ate during the day suddenly decide they don’t want to spend the night with me after all. Instead of going to bed, I end up going to the bathroom.
I’m longing to curl up in my comfy sheets, and yet I end up lying on the couch instead because it’s closer to the toilet. I’m so tired, but IBS just won’t let me go to bed.
Lack of sleep and IBS: A vicious cycle
In the past weeks, IBS has made me lose precious sleep more times than I can count. As a result, I’m not just tired. Since too little sleep actually triggers my IBS, I end up having even more flares the following day!
It’s a vicious cycle: nighttime IBS makes me lose sleep, and the lack of sleep provokes even more IBS, which then means that I have even more trouble going to bed...
Can I have my morning IBS back, please? I don’t like breakfast all that much!
Nighttime IBS is sneaky
When I had morning IBS, I could usually feel it coming on. I would wake up feeling a bit strange, then get a stomach ache, and then end up with my flare. It’s like my IBS was saying: "hey, I’m coming! Please don’t leave your house just yet."
But this new type of IBS is much sneakier. It doesn’t happen at a specific time. It doesn’t give any warning signs. But as soon as I’m ready to go to bed, it’s there!
It almost feels as if the only purpose of these IBS flares was to keep me from sleeping, ever.
Mornings are not what they used to be
The lack of sleep ends up impacting my mornings, too. After a particularly bad flare that lasted until the early morning, I just don’t feel well. Goodbye, breakfast!
In these cases, I can’t even appreciate that the beginning of my days is now technically flare-up-free. So, what’s the point? I so desperately long to go to bed without interruptions. And I think I’m ready to welcome back my morning IBS – if only it would come replacing its evil twin.
Does your IBS ever impact the quality and quantity of sleep you get?
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?