Tips for Sleeping with IBD

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Sleep is incredibly beneficial for your overall health, and teenagers should get between eight and ten hours of sleep per night to stay healthy. IBD can be exhausting at times, and you should try to get as much sleep as you can. Here are some tips to help you get all the sleep you need.

 

  1. Exercise

Exercise helps to tire out your body. If you exercise during the day, you will be able to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

 

  1. Set a schedule

Try to wake up at roughly the same time each day, and set a bed time too. Although you may not be able to follow a perfect schedule every day, even doing this most of the time can improve your sleep cycle.

 

  1. Quiet your mind

Do some relaxing exercises before bed, such as stretching, meditating, or reading. This will help to calm your mind before you sleep.

 

  1. Avoid technology

Avoid screens before bedtime because the light they emit can keep you up at night. If you need to do work on your phone or computer before bed, use the apps and native features available to adjust on-screen lighting levels. Activate Night Shift if you have an iPhone, or download an app like f.lux for your Android phone or computer that changes the lighting to a level that doesn’t keep you awake.

 

  1. Track your sleep

Write down when you went to bed and when you woke up to find patterns in your sleep schedule that may be off. Also, note whether any symptoms woke you up in the middle of the night. Let your doctor know if this happens often.

 

  1. Food and Water Consumption

Make sure that you are hydrated before bed but not so much that you will need to get up during the night. Additionally, make sure that you are not eating too close to when you fall asleep. Avoid any caffeinated beverages and make sure that the foods you are eating do not contain caffeine (e.g., chocolate).

 

These strategies allow me to get a good night’s sleep almost every night. By adding these to your schedule, you should see a vast improvement in your sleep schedule. However, if you think you suffer from a sleeping problem, contact your doctor, especially if you think it may be caused by your IBD. I hope these tips help you to sleep well!

 


Best Blogs for IBD

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 11.55.41 AMThese days, many people blog about their personal experiences, and blogs about IBD, IBS, and other autoimmune disorders are common. While they all have something to offer, I would like to highlight six blogs that helped me when I was struggling after being diagnosed.

 

  1. Girl in Healing

This blog is great for general tips about how to take care of yourself if you have IBD, specifically if you have Crohn’s disease.

https://girlinhealing.com/

 

  1. Colitis Ninja

This blog showed me that I’m not alone and that IBD isn’t a weakness. Reading the blogger’s posts gave me a much-needed confidence boost.

http://colitisninja.com/

 

  1. Heal Me in the Kitchen

As someone who has had to follow a strict diet for years, it’s nice to know I’m in good company. This blog is full of great ideas about cooking for a paleo diet.

http://www.healmeinthekitchen.com/p/httpsstatic.html

 

  1. Ali on the Run

Through her blog, Ali shows that you can be an athlete even when you’re dealing with IBD. Her blog is extremely inspirational, and it will show you that anything is possible.

http://www.aliontherunblog.com/

 

  1. Lights Camera Crohn’s

This blog is also great for general tips and for understanding someone else’s personal experience with the disease.

Home

 

  1. It Could Be Worse

True to its lighthearted title, this blog has helped me to stay positiveeven during difficult times.

Published Work

 

I followed these blogs when I was first diagnosed, and I still keep up with some of them now. They are informative and inspirational, and, most importantly, they let me know I am not alone. I hope these blog recommendations will help you as much as they helped me


Natural Help or Medication

When it comes to IBD, natural remedies versus medication is a complicated but interesting topic. Both have been effective for members of my family. I have ulcerative colitis and my uncle has Crohn’s disease, and we handled our diseases in completely different ways. I am in remission because of medication and a healthy diet, and my uncle is in remission because of fitness and a healthy diet.

My uncle had difficulty accepting his diagnosis, and he refused to take medication. However, he still had serious symptoms. He discovered that running eases his symptoms. In fact, running helped him so much that he has been in remission for more than twenty years. By running marathons and maintaining a healthy diet, he has avoided flare-ups.

I, on the other hand, began taking medication as soon as I received my diagnosis. I have taken multiple different medications, some of which have been more effective than others. Eventually, I found that Humira and a modified version of the paleo diet work best for me.

It may be confusing that my uncle and I took vastly different routes to achieving remission, and it may seem that there are no real solutions to IBD and that treatment is just a guessing game. But this is actually great, as it means you can achieve remission in different ways. Everyone’s body responds in a distinctive way, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, there will always be hope for remission because there is a “cure” for each person out there.

If you are still experiencing a flare-up, you just haven’t found the right medications, routines, diet, and so on. Achieving remission is difficult, but you will one day find the best strategy for you.

 

If you are confused as to how to use natural remedies to treat IBD, here is an article that may help you: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317744.php

 


My Humira Experience (pt. 2)

I previously published a post about my experience with the immunosuppressant drug Humira, and I felt it was time for an update. So far, Humira has worked well for me. I have had limited symptoms since I began taking it. Although I have had abdominal pain a few times, I believe it was caused by the food I had eaten.

Administering the drug is still incredibly painful. I prefer having the shot in my thigh, because getting a shot in my stomach terrifies me. I would like to say I’ve become used to the pain of the shot, but I haven’t, and I have yet to give myself the shot. I’m afraid my hand will shake while I’m doing it. However, I plan to change this on my next shot. I know when I go to college I’ll have to do it myself, so I need to start eventually.

Thankfully, the shot only takes about ten seconds and then it’s over. Afterwards, I always feel a little dizzy and out of it for a few minutes. Sometimes, I feel run-down for a few days following the shot; other times, I’m full of energy, and I can even exercise the next day. My experiences after the shot have varied, which makes me nervous because I never know exactly what’s going to happen.

Humira definitely works better for me than Remicade did. I think using Humira is a much easier process, although it must be taken every two weeks instead of every seven. Remicade took up too much time, and it was impossible to insert an IV line due to my small veins. The process would take about eight or ten hours from start to finish, and I always felt worn out for days following the treatment. Although Remicade helped me achieve remission, I don’t think it’s easy to use with a busy lifestyle. I’m much happier with Humira, despite the pain factor. That being said, Remicade was painful too because of the IV issue.

So far, I’m doing well on Humira, and I’m delighted that I changed to this drug. I highly recommend it for anyone suffering from severe ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Let me know in the comments if you’re taking Humira and what your experiences have been with the drug.  

 


How Stress Affects IBD

Stress can have a major effect on one’s physical health. While stress is commonly associated with headaches and acne, it also has significant effects on ulcerative colitis. According to the journal Gastroenterology Research, exposure to extreme stress can cause a fivefold increase in one’s risk of relapse. Researchers also found that stress, bad mood, and significant life events are correlated to IBD flare-ups. In a study published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice, researchers found that psychological stress can lead to an increase in the permeability of the intestines, which causes symptoms such as a leaky bowel. They also found that stress affects the immune system, which can disrupt neurotransmitters and hormones. Additionally, IBD can increase stress through constant worry about symptoms and medication management.

Several stress-management techniques can help people with IBD avoid stress-related negative effects on mental and physical health. These are some of the techniques I have found useful:

 

  • Meditation

I use the Calm app, which talks the user through the meditation practice. It has different sets for different types of meditation.

  • Stretching

Stretching helps to relax muscles and promotes calmness.

  • Sleeping

Getting enough sleep is crucial for managing stress levels.

  • Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins, which can increase happiness and lower stress levels.

  • Finding Someone to Talk To

Whether it be a parent, a sibling, a friend, or a teacher, find someone to talk to about your stress. Sometimes, venting can help you realize that you don’t have much to be stressed about.

  • Self-Care

Taking a break to read a book or listen to music can significantly lower stress levels.

 

I hope that these tips help you to handle stress a little bit better. It is important to keep your stress level as low as possible when suffering from IBD. Let me know in the comments what you do to combat stress.

 


How to Help Others with IBD

Whether you have IBD or you know someone IBD, there are several ways to help people who are having a tough time with their disease.

The first is very simple: Just be with them and support them; let them know you’re there for them. When I was in hospital, I received many messages and gifts from friends and family. This helped me to stay positive, and it was nice to know that people were thinking of me and hoping I would get better.

If you want to help on a bigger scale, become involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, which raises money to help people suffering from IBD. You can donate, or you can take part in fundraising events. By volunteering with the foundation, you can help many people around the world.

Volunteering at your local hospital is also a great way to help people with IBD. Patients don’t see many people besides their families and the staff, so seeing a friendly face is always nice. You can visit and play with younger children, or you can talk to older kids, young adults, and older people who have IBD.

When I was first diagnosed with IBD, my friends didn’t know what they could do to help when I was experiencing a flare-up. They found these ideas very helpful. By being a good friend and listener, donating if you can, and volunteering with a foundation or local hospital, you can help others with IBD.

I also did some research and found great articles and information on how to help others. This blog post gives specific information for caregivers. This information set also explains how to support someone with IBD. Lastly, this article gives a few easy tips on how to handle being around someone with IBD. 

 


Anger and IBD

It’s common to feel angry when diagnosed with IBD, and even for years afterwards. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t understand the disease well, and I didn’t realize how it would affect my life. I knew I would no longer be able to eat the foods I loved. I would no longer be able to dance, and suddenly losing an activity I had loved since childhood made me feel lost and angry. I would have to spend less time with my friends, and when I went on trips I was constantly on edge, worrying that I would make a mistake and eat something that caused a flare-up. Over time, all these emotions have settled, and I’ve realized that the disease is manageable.

Even if you’re angry and frustrated about the situation, there isn’t much you can do but accept it. You have to experiment with medications, listen to doctors, and change your diet and fitness routine. You have to learn to lean on others because you can’t do it by yourself. You can’t shut people out. I used to spend most of my day in my room with the door shut because I wanted to avoid being around people. My anger made me want to lash out at those around me. My parents would hover over me as if I had become fragile, something they had never done before. My friends distanced themselves from me because they didn’t know what to do or how to comfort me. I could feel that everyone was nervous, and they were treating me differently than before.

This feeling will eventually pass. Your family and friends will become used to the disease and will stop asking you questions all the time. If you learn to accept the disease yourself, then they will too. The disease affects your body, so they will trust you when you tell them that you are okay.

Although I can’t give you advice about dealing with your anger when you are having a hard time accepting your disease, I can tell you you’re not alone. I’ve been through it as well. I sometimes still feel angry when I think about my situation, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to try my best to get on with my day. This disease has become a part of my life: It doesn’t feel abnormal to have ulcerative colitis; it feels like it’s a part of me. Sometimes, accepting the anger is the only way to move forward.

This article gives four different ways to help cope with the anger that sometimes comes with IBD.