Insomnia: How Illnesses Can Affect Sleep

Last updated: September 2022

I am so very tired. Even though I got enough sleep last night, I am still finding it hard to stay awake. Since I recently settled into a normal sleep pattern and started getting more rest, I worry about how other factors could ruin it, including how other illnesses affect my insomnia.

Any time I am sick, I feel tired. All I want to do is rest, but will sleeping at different times ruin my schedule? I fear it may as I am currently trying my best to stay awake so I don’t go back to sleeping all day.

How other illnesses affect insomnia

Anemia agitates my sleep

I am anemic. Anemia makes me tired and agitates insomnia. Despite my best efforts to keep it in check and under control, I occasionally have issues. When my iron is low, I struggle to stay awake. I feel run down no matter how much sleep I get. This is my current issue.

Although I do take supplements to try to control my illnesses, I still have issues from time to time. Despite getting plenty of sleep, I feel like I have not slept much at all today. This is a direct result of anemia.

I knew anemia makes you feel tired, but I underestimated just how tired it would make me feel. I can see that now. So many things have come together to make my insomnia even worse.

Illnesses worsens my insomnia

I also have an undiagnosed medical condition that causes fatigue, adding to the problem. Some days are a real struggle to stay awake.

While I have had all these issues for years, I always assumed most of my fatigue was caused by my insomnia. I did not understand the impact these conditions have on my ability to function throughout the day. Now that I am getting more sleep, I am able to see just how much effect it has.

A perfect storm

Illness and insomnia are a perfect storm for fatigue. All of the illnesses, pain, and conditions I have created this 'perfect storm.' I can see that now.

If I am in pain, it keeps me awake. Staying awake keeps me from getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep makes it hard to function. When it is hard to function due to lack of sleep, it makes it harder for me to get through the day with my physical limitations – that causes pain and pain keeps me awake.

When sickness changes sleep

When I am tired because of an illness or ailment, changing my sleep pattern can cause problems. Fighting through fatigue takes more energy when I am not feeling well.

Some days, this causes pain. When you combine all of these things with my insomnia, I am amazed that I get as much sleep as I do. I am amazed that I have been able to function in this state.

Factors causing sleeplessness

I never considered the impact of contributing factors. Underestimating how these things affected me makes little sense to me now, but I did. I spent many years lumping everything under the umbrella of insomnia, and I do indeed have insomnia.

I have awful insomnia, but I also have contributing factors that agitate it and cause bigger problems. Insomnia is not the only thing keeping me awake. Other illnesses affect my insomnia too.

Do you have other illnesses or ailments that agitate your insomnia? I would love to hear about your experience.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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