Work Life Balance: Sleep Problems are a Pain in the Gut!

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, December 30th, 2014

A new study suggests getting too little or too much sleep might raise your risk of ulcerative colitis – yet another reason for our healthcare workers to focus on work life balance.

“Both short and long durations of sleep have important health implications, and are associated with increased overall mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” study author Dr. Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said.

Sleep deprived student“Our findings indicate that ulcerative colitis may potentially be added to this list,” he said. “We found that less than six hours of sleep per day and more than nine hours of sleep per day are each associated with an increased risk of ulcerative colitis.”

The study, published recently in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, included women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study I in 1976 and the Nurses’ Health Study II in 1989. Every other year, the women completed detailed questionnaires. The researchers noted the extended follow-up period allowed them to analyze the link between sleep and disease incidence.

In a previous study, the investigators also found that six months of poor sleep quality was associated with a twofold increase in risk of flare-ups for another inflammatory condition, Crohn’s disease.

This data supports a growing recognition of the impact of sleep disruption on the immune system.

To learn how to better care for your body, mind and spirit and improve work life balance principles, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. To explore this program that increases nurse engagement contact me today!

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