When You Cant Sleep with Hepatitis C

When You Cant Sleep with Hepatitis C

sleeping with hepatitis c

You’re getting very sleepy. You’re eyelids are getting heavier and heavier. You feel your arms and legs begin to relax. Your thoughts begin to drift off toward dreamland as your head sinks deeper into the pillow. BAM! You’re awake again. You felt an itch on your nose or your bladder nudged you out of your peaceful slumber. It’s over for a while. You may as well get up and go sit in front of the television or the computer screen. If you just lay there tossing and turning, it is frustrating. But you’re so very tired and sleepy.

When you have Hepatitis C, there are many things that can create a state of insomnia. Sleep reversal pattern can keep you from going into the deep dream sleep. Cirrhosis and liver disease itself can lend to hepatic encephalopathy, which is another cause of sleep disturbances. Being wide awake and tired creates mental anxiety which leads to an even more agitated state. You toss and turn all night and then fall asleep at a drop of the hat during the day. There could be a room full of noisy kids with a television blaring and I would be drooling on the sofa. But at night? Yep. Eyes wide open.

Lack of sleep can add to the problems that you are already facing. We human beings need sleep! It can restore us physically and mentally. Our body conserves energy and is believed to heal and repair itself as a result of sleep. Let’s face it, we just get tired. Fatigue is no fun. Who doesn’t feel better after a good nights rest, or feel worse if it is impossible to get it?

Nobody can do without sleep. If you are like me, you have probably had Hepatitis C for a long time and thought you were just not a good sleeper. Even when I was physically exhausted and could doze off initially, my eyes would pop open after just a few hours. I tossed and turned trying to find a cool spot in the bed. A midnight raid on the refrigerator always seemed to help a little, but never ever did I experience a full night’s sleep that was uninterrupted.

Lack of sleep decreases the brain’s ability to reason, focus, remember, and even regulates your mood! Mom used to tell us we needed to go to bed when we were tired and cranky. She was right. It is nearly impossible to put things into perspective when we are sleep deprived.

I have a bag of tricks. You can go through and pull them out one at a time, or heck… use them all at once.

Leave the light off. If you have to get up after 20 minutes of sleeplessness, try and stay away from any light source that might alert your brain to stay awake. Get up and turn on soft light as a last resort. Read comforting and reassuring books or websites.

Get your body and mind ready. Yoga, quiet reading, deep breathing, and prayer or meditation can calm you down and prepare you for sleep. If you are tense, ask for a light back rub from a friend or loved one. Angel dreams ihelpc

Listen to non-arousing music. I love lullabies, quiet symphony, or Indian flute (elevator music lol) before bed. Even a theta deep sound vibration soundtrack can be useful. White noise such as a fan may help too.

Eat. This may sound contrary to popular advice, but I always have a protein snack just before bed. I even get up in the night and grab a spoon of almond butter if I have to get back to sleep for a big day. A bowl of oatmeal or whole grain toast and milk help just before bed. I personally feel that the combination of grain and proteins are a key to my best sleep. Avoid caffeine or nicotine at a late hour.

Have your ritual in place. Comfortable temperature and clothing, or lack of, may be a part of your routine. Maybe you like lotion on your feet just before you turn off your lamp. I am a slave to my bedtime rituals.

Sleep aids. I tried Melatonin with good results over the years. My transplant doctor took that off of my list. He approved Benedryl. I have used Ambien and also Xanax. I currently use ½ of the .05 Xanax on those occasions when falling asleep is easy, but staying asleep is hard. Sometimes even ¼ will help, but my doctor insists it is the placebo effect. Talk it over with your doctor. Some have tried Lunesta, Sonata or other medications. Only your doctor can advise you regarding which is right for you. I hated taking Ambien because of my end stage liver disease but while on Hepatitis C treatment, I did use it occasionally. That is another blog.. Sleeping while on treatment was a crazy mess.

Knowing that you have the Hepatitis C Virus and understanding how hard it is for your liver to function if it has progressed to cirrhosis is hard enough. You need all the rest you can get to stay mentally alert and focused so that you can manage your health care.

golden slumbers ihelpc hepatitis cI’m getting ready to tuck in now. It takes me about 20 minutes for my ritual. I try and head that way as soon as the sleepy feel comes on. I’ll lay there and think of you, say a prayer, wishing you a good night’s rest tonight. My last bit of advice? Feel loved. Just breathe in love.

I’ll fall asleep believing that you will find a soothing solution to your restless body and mind, and that you will be in perfect peace, and lie down restfully, feeling the love.

Tuckin’ you in, Karen:)

Click here for a sweet Golden Slumbers Beatles Youtube When You Cant Sleep with Hepatitis C

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About Karen Hoyt

Karen Hoyt offers a no nonsense approach to living with Cirrhosis. A Hepatitis C treatment survivor, she created a liver loving diet and lifestyle that allows her to create awareness and advocate for her Best Friends at http://www.ihelpc.com

15 thoughts on “When You Cant Sleep with Hepatitis C

  1. my son has chronic hep-c (He’s 33 y/0), was an IV drug user, but now clean over two years. Financially, the family can’t afford treatment. His mother & I are divorced over 20 years and I am disabled myself. My son can’t sleep at night & while I sleep has been known to drink half a bottle of Nyquil, take benedryl, even get into my personal med’s to try and find sleep medication. He’s old enough to know better, YES. I suffer from several diseases and get little sleep myself. I love my son & want to try and help him as much as possible. We live in the Walla Walla, WA. area (SW Washington state) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Good morning Rick –

      What a great dad – taking the time to try and help your son while battling your own health problems. I’m going to check into treatment options in your area. I’m out all day today and suggest you check my resources on clinical trials. HCVacvocate is a super help for resources on funding treatment and so are my facebook friends. There are several on the West Coast.

      About sleeping, Nyquil would be a no no because of alcohol content. The Benedryl would be safer and is actually suggested by doctors. The reverse sleep pattern are typical of someone who has HCV. It’s terrible to lose sleep for whatever reason.

      You must be relieved that he has beat the drug problems. Many who have HCV have gotten clean and then began treatment with success. If love and support will help, this kid can make it.

      xoxo Karen

    2. My answer would be Xanax.I have hep C now this years(IV Drug use).With his history ,though,the doctor may be unwilling to prescribe it,but if you can find a street dealer,try that.I used to be like a zombie all day from lying in bed looking at the ceiling.If you can get,give him 2mg at night(You be in charge of doling them out),he probably will be up early enough,but fresh as a Daisy.Or tell your doctor even,I live in Ireland,so it might be different over there,and dont be too hard on him.Lack of sleep is one of the worst things you can encounter
      Ian

      1. Ian,

        Thanks for chiming in on the discussion! To me, 2mg seems a bit much! I take 1/2 of .5 when I need to sleep. You’re right about some things giving a person a hangover. That is really true if you have advanced liver disease. I would say to make sure your doctor is giving the RX and stay away from the street dealer. So I agree on that with you also that in most places you can tell your doctor here in the US also.

        I hope you sleep well dear friend. I’ve been tossing and turning lately and spent this whole day napping. THAT works too! lol.

        Thank you a million for stopping by and chatting!
        xo Karen:)

        1. Hey Karen,
          There is nothing worse than no sleep,and walking around like a zombie the next day.I have researched this and I uaually take 2mg of diazapam,or Xanax,whatever I have.(Diazapam is better).The Benzos seem to bypass the liver and are broken down by the kidneys.Anyway,thats my 2c worth.
          Would like to stay in touch,even if it is to shoot the breeze
          Ian

          1. Ian,

            Hay! It’s good to see your post. I’ve been without a computer. I had over 100 comments. I hope you don’t think I am a slouch for taking so long. I wish we could just sleep without anything. I was working toward that. I took 1/4 of a .5 mg xanax to sleep. Now I’m back up to a 1/2 pill with all the transplant stuff going on.

            I hope you dream sweet tonight dear friend,
            xo Karen:) Chat me up anytime..

          2. Hi Karen.
            Lovely to hear from ya.I took 20mg valium and went to bed at 11p.m. and was sleeping lovely(Didnt get much sleep the night before.Then my daughters were screaming and shouting(playing with each other) at 1.30.
            Once you are up then you are up.Flicking through the channels on TV,the way you do when you want to sleep and cant concentrate or anything.Know if I go to bed now will be staring atceiling til dawn.Might buy a big cage and stick the two girls in it and keep it in the garage.!!!!!! Ian x

          3. I love your sense of humor! When we can’t sleep it makes us cranky sometimes. I know when my girls are over and wanting to sit up and be silly, I get so tired!
            I’ve never taken valium. But my little xanax has helped many nights. I try and sleep without it. But this last month finds me staring at the ceiling all night most nights. Sigh.. If only we could be productive with no sleep I would be up writing! lol. No such luck. Best to ya Ian. xoxoxo Karen:)

  2. Karen could you please give me some advice.

    My friend is a 56 y/o male diagnosed 1 yr ago with Hep C & Cirrhosis. His drs have told him he can not take any treatment because his liver won’t take it. He is currently on Zifaxan for the hepatic encephalopathy. He can’t sleep & is taking his mother’s Ambien. I’ve told him not to & bought some Melatonin for him to try, but he keeps taking the Ambien. His dr recommended a 1000mg protein diet daily & he isn’t doing that either. He is non-compliant. His HE episodes are increasing & I don’t know how to help him. I’ve tried everything but he won’t listen! Could you please offer some advice.

    Thanks so much!
    Dorothy

    1. Dorothy,

      You’re an awesome friend to look out for him. I’ve had severe HE and you really don’t even know what you’re doing. You THINK you do, but you don’t.
      1. Ambien is better than melatonin according to my tranplant doctor. BUT it did increase my confusion. I will never take it again. I was lost as a goose. on that stuff with the HE.
      2. The protein helps the liver to heal and keeps him from wasting away. Plant based is the best as well as eggs, fish, etc. Beef can really make HE worse as well as impair liver function even more. 1/2 of his body weight in grams of protein. I never go above 80 grams unless I’m running 3 xs a week.

      Sadly, the noncompliance feeds the HE and that creates more confusion and it’s a terrible cycle. He is my age, so I think that that surely there is hope. I was End Stage and was denied treatment. I pushed hard to get ready for treatment and my doctor agreed. I think my doc saw my determination and knew I would be compliant with the meds. If he is not listening to doctor now, his liver could totally fail on treatment.
      A lot of friends and family kept encouraging me and it helped so much. Keep speaking the truth to him. He’s still in there. This may sound weird, but simple statements repeated did penetrate when I was at my worst.
      Girl, you’ve got me crying. I know you care, but you can’t make this happen. You are doing the right thing by standing by him and giving him love and support. What an angel you are.
      xoxo Karen:)

  3. I was so happy on the 23jan. They said that my meds would be arriving in 2 to 3 weeksI was so happy! I found out that they never even sent the paper work in! They said Gilead wouldnt treat me without going thru the market place. I called Gilead they said if I get insurance they cant help me and the insurance will not cover it either. Why would they do this to me? It must be the fault of jps because Gilead would send the med to me if the Dr requested it . Something isnt adding up here but I with the help of God will figure out whats going on.

    1. Jody,

      Dear friend, You know how excited I am that you are finally SVR! You made it through the treatment! When I found this old comment stuck in with some spam comments, it grabbed my heart. I well remember what you went through. Here you are! So happy for you!
      Much love,
      xo Karen:)

  4. Dearest Karen,My name is Holly & I was diagnose about 8 mths ago with Hep C .I have read your articles off and on different subjects.Im haven a very difficult time of it.I just wanted to say you are a very kind person it seems and your beautiful face radiates Love &kindness:)God Bless…Holly🕊

    1. Holly,
      What sweetness you are! I accept all the love and kindness and send it right back to you. It is scary. But I can honestly say after having gone through it ALL …. that it was never as bad as my mind made it out to be. We need to plan.. but worrying, not so much.
      So many details to figure out and it always seems to worse when you’re tired. I hope you sleep well. Any questions, just ask and Dee or I are on it!
      Love,
      Karen

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