Even though celiac disease is not an ailment most people are familiar with, it affects one out of every 133 North American patients. That's a rather staggering number, especially when the tangential side-effect of sleep problems, or celiac insomnia, is added into the mix.
What Is Celiac Disease
Celiac disease, or CD for short, is an inherited affliction that affects a person's auto-immune capabilities. Those suffering from CD tend to experience a toxic reaction in their intestines when they eat food(s) containing the grain-based gluten protein, resulting in an inability to digest what has been consumed.
What makes celiac insomnia so dangerous is that 97% of children and adults who suffer from the disease do not realize they have it. One doctor who has done some informal research on the ailment has a fairly simple explanation for its possible link to insomnia: it causes sleep-breathing problems. Celiac patients, the MD found, typically have small jaws and narrower space behind their tongues. It adds up to something known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). Still, official, sanctioned research links between celiac disease and insomnia are still relatively scarce.
Do Gluten-Free Diets Work?
Even when people who suffer from celiac disease go on 100% gluten-free diets, they can still suffer from insomnia. As such, this may point to the idea that celiac disease is an early indicator, or side-symptom, of a much more serious and separate sleep-breathing disorder. As part of his informal, online research, the doctor in question asked readers to answer a series of questions including whether or not they preferred to sleep on their stomachs, had cold hands and-or feet, and had one or two parents known to snore heavily. Several patients answered in the affirmative to a majority of the doctor's questions, and concurred that the elimination of gluten from their diet had not reduced the frequency of their insomnia.