Sleep Disorders More Common Among the Gluten Free
My gluten free son has had sleep problems since we discovered his gluten issues. Sometimes they are mild, and sometimes they are debilitating. In fact, lately I’ve even been hanging out on a renown Sleep Disorder Center website considering making an appointment.
It’s no surprise then, that this Psychology Today article jumped out at me and may provide just one more puzzle piece to try to fit in this strange group of symptoms that gluten intolerance can cause.
“Are You G-Free and Sleep-Free? Sleep disorders found among those with gluten intolerance,” by Michael J. Breus, aka “The Sleep Doctor,” points to an August 2010 study that finds the people with celiac or those following a gluten free diet have more sleep disorders than those without.
Breus conjectures that this may be related to the fact that more depression exists among celiacs as do more “uncomfortable symptoms and signs of nutritional, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies.”
We do know that those following a gluten free diet are often suffering from other illnesses and issues that may affect quality of life, but I’d personally love to see these researchers look for physical reasons for the issue of sleep disorders among the gluten free instead of simplifying the guess to “depression and anxiety,” since, according to the study the sleep disorders often persist even after going gluten free and symptoms clear up.
“You wouldn’t think being sensitive to gluten would have any effect on sleep, but there is in fact a strong connection. A team of researchers recently found that people with this condition—even those following a gluten-free diet—commonly suffer from sleep disorders that are related to depression, anxiety, and fatigue. It is, to put it mildly, a vicious cycle:
- When you’re tired and down, you’re not likely to sleep well, which can then play into digestive issues.
- Add to that a sensitivity to an ingredient as ubiquitous as gluten and there’s bound to be trouble.
- The reverse holds true as well: when your eating life is challenged by celiac, you run a higher risk of having physical ailments that hinder restful sleep.”
“Fatigue, depression, and anxiety are really just common denominators to myriad other conditions; in other words, they happen as a side-effect to enduring or living with other health problems.”
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 32, Issue 8, pages 1031–1036, October 2010
Read the study abstract free or pay for the study write-up.