Lyme Insomnia

Lyme Insomnia is basically difficulty with falling asleep due to an infection with Lyme disease. The word "insomnia" means "no sleep" or "lack of sleep".

There are many causes of insomnia, and Lyme disease is just one of them.

You can get Lyme disease if you get bitten by a tick that is carrying the bacteria responsible (Borrelia Burgdorferi). The bacteria in the tick bite are then transmitted into the blood stream, and they begin to spread, resulting in the infection known as Lyme disease. There are many symptoms associated with this bacterial infection,and one of the most common symptoms is called Lyme insomnia.

Insomnia (trouble falling asleep) is pretty much the most frequent thing that most people will notice. When doctors are evaluating patients who are currently undergoing treatment for Lyme, there is one thing in common, and that is that almost ALL patients complain that can't get any sleep.

This sounds like something "not too bad" at first, BUT it quickly becomes a problem. Sleep is extremely important for humans - and we need GOOD QUALITY sleep, too! All the cells and tissues in our bodies are constantly being broken down and worn out, and are repaired and re-built during sleep. So sleep is an essential part of being a human!

Lyme Insomnia

BUT we need the sleep periods to be of LONG ENOUGH duration, and of GOOD ENOUGH quality. Simply put, our bodies are unable to heal and repair if we are not getting enough sleep. You start to become fatigued, and feel worn-out.

Lyme Insomnia

How does Lyme disease cause Lyme insomnia?

The human body has a rhythm through the 24 hour day (the "circadian rhythm") that allows for the production and release of various hormones such as melatonin.

Melatonin is made by the pineal gland, and it is a sleep hormone that helps the human body relax in preparation for sleep. More melatonin results in increased ability to sleep. But if our bodies are not producing enough melatonin, then it starts to become more difficult to fall asleep.

When you have Lyme disease, your body's immune system is working hard trying to fight the bacteria. Your immune system is fully engaged, and all fired up to battle the foreign invaders (the bacteria) within your body. This "fired up" immune response has a number of side effects, and one of them is a generalised inflammation throughout your body. This associated inflammation interferes with the normal working of the pineal gland, which is responsible for producing melatonin.

SO, with less melatonin being produced, you start to find it harder and harder to fall asleep, and you may even suffer from AN INABILITY TO SLEEP AT ALL.

Another reason why you might have insomnia caused by Lyme disease is because when your immune system is working overtime battling the bacteria, you will often have a significantly high fever. When a fever increases and then decreases, and then increases again in a cycle, you will become very uncomfortable, fatigued, irritable, and just feel plain horrible! You just aren't able to relax enough to actually go to sleep!

JUST TO MAKE THIS SITUATION EVEN WORSE, when your immune system is overworked, you actually need MORE sleep to recuperate. This creates a viscious circle, because you're finding it very hard to get ANY sleep, despite actually NEEDING more sleep. This obviously becomes EXHAUSTING in quite a short space of time!.

Lyme insomnia occurs in many (but not ALL) patients who have been affected with Lyme disease. It is a symptom that may occur in all stages of lyme disease: both early and late. So just because you're not having any problems sleeping at first, don't think you've got away with it. Difficulty sleeping may well start to appear in the later stages of the disease, just when you think you're getting better.

Obviously, it's very important to speak with your doctor to find out your options for dealing with your Lyme insomnia. There are treatments available, such as melatonin supplements, so please don't hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.