The longest recorded time without sleep is approximately 264 hours, or just over 11 consecutive days. Although it’s unclear exactly how long humans can survive without sleep, it isn’t long before the effects of sleep deprivation start to show. After only three or four nights without sleep, you can start to hallucinate. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are real. … A review of 16 studies found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by about 12 percent. These facts are alarming to me and now I am actively trying to make sure I get enough sleep, I just have one major problem, my illness. It has been determined that sleep disturbances and/or poor sleep quality is associated with around 60% of lupus patients.  We know that lack of sleep does not cause lupus; however, people with SLE have been associated with having worse sleep patterns than those without.

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with lupus that I started to have issues with insomnia. I have always been a night owl, but it didn’t result in me being up until 7am. It usually stems from an intense battle with pain that keeps me up at night and during the day. Then with the help of a lot of painkillers, I get a bit of relief to lull me into a deep sleep for a few hours, until I’m awaken again with unbearable pain, and the cycle starts all over again. The result is a horrible sleeping pattern that is hard to get back to normal. This doesn’t help my condition or my stress levels, which in turn affects my health. I decided to look up the effects that lack of sleep has on lupus patients and how to rectify my issues with insomnia. I wanted to share my findings with all of you because I am sure I’m not the only one going through this. I wish you all a goodnight’s sleep.


Recommended Amount of sleep according to age:



Remedies for getting a good night sleep:

What you can do-

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages (6 hours before bed), large meals, alcohol and cigarettes before bedtime.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time everyday.
  • Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark and cool (not too cold or not too hot) environment.
  • Keep a sleep journal, which includes how long you slept, if you woke up, what troubled you during your sleep (thoughts/feelings, pain, temperature).

Prescribed sleep medication-

  • Zolpidem (Ambien): This medication works well to get one to fall asleep, but people have been known to wake up in the middle of the night (hello Ambien eating and online shopping)!!!  If you are thinking about taking this drug, you may want to ask your doctor to prescribe Ambien CR (extended release) which may help you stay asleep longer.
  • Eszopiclone (Lunesta): This medication works well to get one to fall asleep fast, but he/she better be prepared to sleep for at least 7-8 hours or experience drowsy city.  And don’t expect to be operating any heavy machinery at first, most doctors start out with a low dose of 1 mg until a patient knows how it will make them feel.
  • Zaleplon (Sonata): This medication is on the newer side, and stays active in the body for the shortest amount of time.  So one could take it on the later side and not feel like the “Walking Dead” in the morning.  Word of warning: if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, this may not be the drug for you.
  • Ramelteon (Rozerem): This medication works by targeting the sleep cycle directly, not by depressing the central nervous system.

Natural sleep aide supplements-

  • Melatonin: This is something that the body’s pineal gland naturally releases.  Taking melatonin supplements have been found helpful in inducing and maintaining sleep in both children and adults. However, it should not be taken by those with kidney disease or women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.
  • Calcium: This is a natural relaxant that may aid in sleep.
  • Magnesium: Having a magnesium deficiency can cause feelings of nervousness which can hinder sleep.
  • The B Vitamins: B6 and B12 have been found to be helpful in improving insomnia.
  • Valerian Root: This plant may reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and help you sleep better and longer.

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