Does anyone know anything about the relationship between sleep cycles and inflammation?

I'm off all meds pending some tests. The early morning (4am) inflammation has returned with a vengeance. By about 1.30 pm its lifted. Has anyone read anything about what happens towards the end of a nights sleep, like biochemical changes, that might cause this? Its standard RA stuff isn't it.

10 Replies

  • Hi Cathie , I do not know anything about biochemical changes regarding sleep and RA however I am becoming aware that if my sleep is disturbed continually that my RA is showing signs of flaring. Is that the RA causing the sleeplessness or the sleeplessness flaring the RA, chicken and egg question I think

    Sorry I cannot answer your question though


  • Do you get disturbed at particular times of night? I find my hands start to swell up between 4-5am. Interesting - I'm not sure what good it would do to know.

  • My experience is of spondyloarthritis. Typically that is something that is absolutely worst after being immobile for a period of time, so night time waking in pain and early morning stiffness and pain are what you would expect with uncontrolled disease and in fact are two of the criteria for "inflammatory back pain". As the day wears on and you move around, the stiffness relieves considerably and the pain also relieves a bit, though its still possible that doing too much or the wrong things will cause an increase in pain or fatigue later on in the day. In my personal experience, when my disease is out of control (which is just about all the time unless I am taking steroids), I am in tears in the morning and have to absolutely force myself to move out of bed. It can be a real nightmare. I then push myself to just keep moving around the house largely by doing some unnecessary and inefficient moving between rooms (backwards and forwards just to keep moving). Within an hour I am starting to feel better, and within an hour and a half to two hours I would be ready to leave the house. On steroids, I just get straight out of bed and into my normal activity. Personally I don't think its diurnal inflammatory cycles - to me its more about the impact of movement, rest and position with more noticeable problems when I am generally inflamed. Pain and stiffness that worsens with rest and relieves with moderate exercise is also a hallmark of spondy.

    So, what you are describing to me sounds far more typical of spondyloarthritis than of RA, but who knows. I'm not a doctor.

  • Hi Cathie, I was told that during the night our natural steroid production slows right down, and this along with what others have said about a period of being immobile is perhaps why we get so much early morning pain and stiffness.

    I hope you have your tests done soon so that you can get some relief soon, Rx

  • Thanks.

  • Hi Cathie - I can't answer your question as haven't a clue - but having suffered from insomnia all my life and having recently started slipping backwards into insomnia again I can offer much sympathy. I am not sure if I'm flaring because I'm not in any specific pain but last time I felt this lousy - flu like burning and total fatigue - I was told I was full of inflammation and my ESR was soaring again but I don't have anything visible to show for it - apart from a knackered looking blotchy face! Crossing fingers for you that your scan results show what you want them to show. TX

  • Thanks. I'm having bloods done on Friday at 8.30 am and am going to get nurse to note inflamed hands. Don't need MRI to show this. Am hoping that esr will back that up as I still haven't got appt.

  • Just thinking that inflammation must be somewhere. I hope you can get to bottom of it

  • I'm having mine done on Monday, seeing the dermatologist on Friday and then my rheumy a week later. I know they are all going to pronounce me fine and dandy - and perhaps I am but someone just forgot to tell my body?! Good luck with everything let us know how you get on. X

  • There's tests and then there's us. Bon courage

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