Can We Take a Minute to Rest?

Elly Aylwin-Foster avatar

by Elly Aylwin-Foster |

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Reader, I am tired.

I don’t need to explain how that feels to those who have cystic fibrosis (CF), but for the benefit of others, I will.

It’s a kind of tiredness that halves my normal walking pace. It leaves me reaching for words mid-sentence in confusion and automatically makes me stand hunched over — full height is too much of an energy-consuming prospect to consider.

I’ve been so busy. I’ve tried planning adequate time for rest and recovery, but the last few weeks have been deadline-heavy. My eye is fixed on my calendar’s next date clear of activities.

Sleep is an essential part of healthy functioning for people with CF. We are at higher risk of infection when experiencing sleep issues. I couldn’t find studies specifically looking at sleep deprivation in those with CF-related diabetes, but it’s understood that there is a link between lack of sleep and higher blood sugar in the general diabetic population.

Here I am, sleep-deprived and doing my best to fight an infection while my glucometer records unwanted double digits. Given the importance of sleep in CF management, I’m frustrated that there are not more treatment options to help, and that the impact of sleeplessness is not better understood in our disease. Reasons for sleeplessness in people with CF vary from self-imposed to a consequence of nighttime cough or other physical symptoms. And yet, aside from a handful of studies that have investigated the prevalence and cause of sleep difficulties in adolescents and adults with CF, there is little to report and seemingly no clinical recommendations.

Sleep problems transform me. I’m no longer a functioning adult who works successfully as a freelance writer, does the laundry (and sometimes folds it, too), makes almost Instagrammable dinners, and pays the bills. I am a human-shaped form capable only of scrolling through social media feeds while plotting the next napping opportunity.

There, I said it. I’m no good without sleep. I am even beginning to wonder if rest is the most important part of my treatment aside from physiotherapy and prescribed medication.

If, like me, you need to rest, then make some time. Remember the power of sleep, the greatest restorative treatment there is.

So, that’s precisely what I’m doing the moment I finish this column. Regular activities are canceled. Regular programming will resume after a good, long nap.


Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.


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