Getting Enough Rest: Tips for Combating Hep C Fatigue
Last updated: July 2020
Getting rest is critical to being at the top of your game. Let’s face it, sleep is not something a person with liver disease gets much of... My sleep patterns changed over the course of my hepatitis C battle. It began with me falling asleep several times during my workdays. I was needing to lie down several times throughout my day. I would do a little work and then go lay down on a blow-up mattress I kept at my office. But then I would get home at night and fall asleep early after getting home from kids sports, etc.. only to be awake again at midnight till about 3am or so.
My experiences with fatigue and insomnia
This was my repeated cycle throughout treating my hep C as well. Not until I was cured did my sleep sort of improve. I say sort of only because the daytime naps improved to napping only once an afternoon. My evenings still ended early, no late-night games for the kids. But the darn insomnia would kick in, always around midnight or 1 am. It is then that I found a liver support group called insomniacs that I realized it was not just me feeling this, but a whole group of liver patients. I began asking what their daily routines were as well and sure enough, it was almost unanimous - needing several naps, a day and up in the wee hours of the early morning.
Can liver disease cause insomnia?
Digging into this further, I learned from my doctor that livers are functioning full-speed at night, during our sleep. A normal liver is doing it job of filtering and removing toxins from our bodies at that hour. He explained that it's possible for a failing liver (or one that is highly damaged) struggles at that hour of the early morning, causing our bodies to awake. He did say there was no scientific proof of this action, but how ironic all the people I talked to in the early morning hours had bad livers. Just a thought I pondered while awake one morning.
Ways to reduce fatigue
Today, I am resting a little better than I used to and only down to one nap in the afternoons rather than multiple. Occasionally. I am wide awake at 2am, along with the hundreds of others in the same boat. Because of this action, I have volunteered to take the opening shift at my work, which requires me to be at work by 4am. This has worked into my already up at 2am schedule and now I am not wasting time, per se, but rather using my time wisely. I get off work now when everyone else in the world is in their cars driving to work at 9am. At that time, I head home for a nap. I found this to work for me. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it to work for me.
Get rest when you need it. If several daily naps are required, do it. Just keep in mind the more sleep during the day the less you'll sleep at night. Decide what is best for you body and peace of mind.