Help! I'm dealing with Crohn's disease and my baby's sleep regression...
When people told me I wouldn't sleep when the baby got here, I didn't take much notice. Didn't they know I was already really tired from having a chronic illness and a baby that kept pressing on my bladder? I was already a pro at managing fatigue so surely I could take on a baby? I could just sleep when the baby slept right?
Oh, how wrong I was!
The impact of sleep on Crohn's disease
I never realized how much sleep impacts my IBD before I had a baby and, unlike before I had a baby, it's not something I can control either. Those rare nights where he sleeps through or he's at grandmas house, I sleep and my bowels are so much happier for it.
The rest of the time, despite not showing any signs of disease activity on various tests, when I don't sleep, my digestion seems to be awful. Of course, there are many things that impact our gut, but this does seem to be a cause and effect type situation.
Does sleep worsen symptoms of Crohn's and UC?
When these things happen, I like to do my research to find if it's just me or if anyone else is struggling too. Back in September, I wrote about how studies show that lack of sleep can even be a predictor of a flare-up/ so I knew that this sleep deprivation could be linked to my IBD.
Yet my blood tests, stool tests, and MRI all suggest I'm not flaring. But, I've also found that sleep is pretty important for everyone, IBD or not. There's a link between more generic IBS type symptoms and our sleep too.
A study showed that those who had IBS and woke in the night were more likely to have stomach pain and distress. Could that be the reason for my distress?1
Unfortunately, I am currently stuck in the 8 months sleep regression that for some reason is still here at 9 months and counting. It's not so much that I'm getting no sleep but that my sleep is constantly broken, meaning I feel as I've never really got to the 'deep sleep' stage and I feel as if I've barely shut my eyes before it's morning.
Less sleep and less time to do things as a mom
Yet, at the same time, I'm also returning to work; which means when my baby naps or has a trip to grandmas, I feel like I need to get my laptop out or tidy my house. Being a mom seems to mean I need to do everything I did before but in far less time and with far less sleep.
I'm not really sure the point of this blog post because I don't have a solution. But I'd like to say to my fellow IBD-moms I FEEL YOU and to those who are pregnant with IBD: SLEEP NOW BECAUSE YOU WILL NEVER EVER SLEEP THE SAME AGAIN!
Oh, and of course, if anyone reading this just happens to be a sleep expert and can get me my eight hours of solid sleep back me, and of course my digestive tract will be very, very grateful.
What is your comfort level disclosing your IBD to your employer?