I was reading an research article that explained why we get sick when we are overtired. The research was obliviously aimed at healthy people who have the bad habit of staying up too late. As a person with an autoimmune illness, I felt like throwing my arms up and declaring forfeit.

sleep-1521803_1920My immune system is compromised, and as such, I do not get sick like an normal person, I get much sicker, for much longer.

Living with pain, absolute exhaustion and sleeping difficulties are part of my every day life. The research said that missing even one hour of sleep can make a difference to our immune system. In the case of autoimmune illness, on the best of days, even with the best sleep, our immune systems are not functioning the way it was meant to.

For a healthy individual, the immune system is a network of cells and tissues throughout your body that works together to defend you from invasion and infection. For an autoimmune disease sufferer, the immune system is a network of cells and tissues throughout your body that work together to attack the thyroid, heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lung, kidneys, glands, digestive tract, blood vessel. It barely has any time to defend the system from real invasions and infections. If this wasn’t enough, it also causes sleep issues.

Do you see the vicious circle here? 

sleeping-like-a-baby-isnt-alway-possible-not-remembering-what-this-feels-like-living-with-chronic-paAccording to the study, just an hour of lost sleep can cause cellular damage. Well, thanks. As if I didn’t have enough going wrong with my health already.

So what is a person with an autoimmune illness supposed to do?

My key point is managing stress. It’s no surprise that stress works like gasoline for your autoimmune condition. Making priority in your daily routine for true relaxation is key. As a mother of three pre-teens, currently planning a wedding and in the process of purchasing a house, I understand that it can be difficult to find “me” time, but once you make it a priority for your health, it does help to you to feel better.