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Gluten-free or Not, Celiacs Suffer More Sleep Disorders

New research on sleep disorders and celiac 09/24/2010 - A team of researchers recently found that people with celiac disease, even those following a gluten-free diet, also commonly suffer from sleep disorders that are related to depression, anxiety and fatigue.

Since anxiety and depression both occur at higher rates in people with celiac disease than in the general population, the researchers were curious to see how celiac disease might affect quality of sleep.

The research team included F. Zingone, M. Siniscalchi, P. Capone, R. Tortora, P. Andreozzi, E. Capone, and C. Ciacci. They are affiliated with the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at Federico II University of Naples in Italy.

In addition to finding that sleep disorders commonly affect people with celiac disease, regardless of gluten-free status, they also found that sleep disorders are less common in celiacs who score higher on quality of life scales, while those with low quality of life scores suffer at higher rates.

For their study, the team evaluated people celiac disease at diagnosis, celiacs on a gluten-free diet at follow-up, and a group of healthy control subjects. All patients completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), SF36, Zung and Fatigue scales and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).

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Their results showed that people with celiac disease at diagnosis and those following a gluten-free diet showed higher PSQI scores than did healthy volunteers (P < 0.001). PSQI scores were no lower for those following a gluten-free diet than for the others with celiac disease (P = 0.245).

People with celiacs disease at diagnosis and those on a gluten-free diet scored similarly on the other tests, but differed sharply from the healthy control subjects.

Patients who had higher individual scores for overall physical and mental fitness (r = −0.327, P = 0.002, and r = −0.455, P < 0.001, respectively) had higher overall PSQI scores.

Factors influencing sleep quality were depression (r = 0.633, P < 0.001), fatigue (r = 0.377, P < 0.001), state anxiety (r = 0.484, P < 0.001) and trait anxiety (r = 0.467, P < 0.001).

So, if you or someone you love has celiac disease, be prepared to address sleep issues, and maybe consider doing everything possible to ensure a good night's rest.

Source: welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

4 Responses:

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said this on
27 Sep 2010 1:08:21 PM PST
Thanks so much for your persistent investigative journalism on celiac disease, Jefferson!! You are like a one man renaissance of information infiltrating the dark ages of current understanding of celiac.

When I first found out that my son and I have celiac, I was relieved. I thought that not eating gluten would solve all our problems. As it has turned out, it's helped both of us a little but our quest for good physical and mental health goes on and on. Obviously, medical science's current view of celiac does not take in the whole picture of what is really going on. I suspect that by the time celiac is developed, patients have so much disbiosis of intestinal flora and mucosa that it really has to be addressed holistically rather than just focusing on avoidance of gluten. I think we need to ask what triggers the celiac gene to awaken? Could it be yeast overgrowth and/or heavy metal toxicity? How common is it for those with celiac to have yeast overgrowth and/or heavy metal toxicity? Why do these conditions go together? Which causes which? Was there a preexisting instigator to all of them--perhaps stress or an environmental exposure or eating the wrong food (new studies show that a component of mother's milk known to be indigestible to human has been found to feed a particular strain of probiotics in the guts of infants; the purpose of this probiotic is to line the gut and prevent bad bacteria, funguses and viruses from attaching to the intestinal walls--a powerful clue!).

marion hutchison
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said this on
19 Mar 2012 4:36:06 PM PST
I have celiac and get about 2 hours of rest, then awake and cannot sleep.

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said this on
08 Oct 2010 3:32:40 AM PST
Since I'm reading this article at 4:30 a.m., and I have no reason to be awake at this hour, it sure feels like there's something to this!

Debbie Stevens
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said this on
01 Nov 2016 12:33:18 AM PST
I would like to see more information on celiac with narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. Thank you.

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