Patients who report poor sleep patterns have an associated decrease in their overall quality of life. While that may not be news, new evidence is supporting work presented at the most recent Digestive Diseases Week (DDW), in that patients who struggle with moderate to severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) tend to be those who stay up late, and even experience what’s known as ‘social jet lag,’ a phenomenon seen in shift workers who need to abruptly adjust their own sleeping schedules in order to be able to participate in activities planned for more ‘common’ wakeful hours. These individuals usually show a markedly different pattern in their eating habits between weekdays and weekends, suggesting that a combination of changes in the gut flora, changes in gene expression, and increased inflammation from the significant and intermittent changes may ultimately lead to a worsening clinical picture for those with IBD. Some clinicians, including those who presented earlier this year at DDW, advocate for good ‘sleep hygiene’ and careful eating habits to help those patients with gastrointestinal issues.
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