How Your Circadian Rhythm May Influence Your CIDP
Your circadian rhythm may affect how you respond to treatment drugs related to your CIDP and your overall recovery from CIDP neuropathy.
By Shiraz Abbas
We previously wrote how lack of sleep could affect your CIDP. Circadian rhythms also seem to play a role. Circadian rhythms have to do with the 24-hour light/dark cycles of the Earth and how they influence the sleep cycles of life.
Our bodies are influenced by their exposure to light. Interestingly enough, every cell in our bodies also have their circadian rhythm. Although the clock is mainly in the brain, other systems in the body also have their rhythms. This includes our central nervous system, our immune system and our digestive system.
So for example, your digestive system’s clock is set to slow down at night which is why people who eat more at night tend to gain more weight. The digestive system slows down because it is getting ready to sleep.
The same applies to the immune system. It does seem that inflammation in the body (in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and perhaps CIDP) are regulated in specific times during the day.
Multiplesclerosis.net explains it as follows:
A master circadian gene known as BMAL1 has been shown to look for and act on time cues during the day to regulate inflammatory responses in laboratory mice. If BMAL1 isn’t present, and the mice experienced flareups in the middle of the day, they were shown to have more severe symptoms of relapse than if the same autoimmune attack took place at midnight.
What’s also interesting about BMAL1 is that it is a core component of the master clock in the SCN. It yields major influence over the immune system. When the circadian system is disrupted in someone with MS, an increased incidence of disease activity can be traced back to some dysfunction inherent in the BMAL1 gene.
What this means is that our immune system is programmed to respond better to immune conditions (such as infection) at specific times during the day. This means that the way we respond to drugs can be affected depending at what time we take them.
How is this important?
Well, it means that working nightshifts may end up exacerbating chronic inflammation and autoimmune problems in the body. Furthermore, not sticking to proper sleep and wake cycles can also make autoimmune problems worse. As such, good exercise, eating and sleep time habits are important in order to ensure good sleep cycles.
Multiplesclerosis.net gives the following recommendations:
Eat dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Eat breakfast in the morning to improve metabolism and give the body necessary energy.
Get a good dose of sunshine first thing in the morning: just 20 minutes a morning can do wonders for a circadian reset. If you can’t receive direct daylight, light therapy works well.
Skip the alcohol at bedtime, as it fragments your sleep, which is another way to disrupt your circadian rhythms.
Limit caffeine consumption to the morning hours. Late afternoon coffee or other caffeine products can lead to sleep-onset insomnia.
Put away handheld electronic devices 1 hour before your planned bedtime. These emit blue spectrum light, which delays the neurochemical processes in the brain that facilitate sleep. If you can’t do this, opt to wear blue-blocking eyewear or place blue-light filters on your hardware to ensure your eyes aren’t exposed to blue spectrum light.
If you suffer from CIDP, remember that good diet, exercise and sleep is critical to help you better recover from the disease, or at the very least lessen the severity of its symptoms.
Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.