The Cleveland Clinic

Sleep Disorders: Sleep and Chronic Illness

A chronic illness is an illness that lasts for a long time and usually cannot be cured. Examples include diabetes, arthritis, HIV/AIDS, lupus, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis. Although these diseases can't be cured, they can often be controlled.

How Does Chronic Illness Affect Sleep?

The pain and fatigue that people with chronic illness experience have a large impact on their daily lives, including sleep . Because of their illness, these patients often have trouble sleeping at night, and are sleepy during the day. This is especially the case for people who have neurological (nervous system) diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Insomnia can make the persons pain and quality of life worse. In addition, some drugs used to treat chronic illnesses can cause sleep problems.

People who have a chronic illness may also suffer from depression, which can affect their sleep.

How Are Sleeping Problems Associated With Chronic Illness Treated?

The first step is to try to control the pain associated with the illness. Once pain is controlled, sleeping may not be a problem. Your doctor can prescribe the appropriate pain relieving medication that suits your condition.