Posted on 09 Feb 2021
Sleep is fundamental for good overall health. Sleep can also help you to avoid flare-ups of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease. The best way to check if sleep is improving your IBD symptoms is to track how your sleep was and how your symptoms were, which you can do easily within the My IBD Care app.
At Ampersand Health, we want to empower those living with IBD to feel in control of their condition and to feel able to manage their symptoms (with the support of their specialist). One of the best tools for this is data, like how you have been sleeping – not just one night, but over weeks and months – and how that aligns with your IBD symptoms. The My IBD Care app allows you to record how well you slept each night with its sleep tracker feature.
Why tracking sleep matters if you have Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
There is a proven relationship between sleep and IBD flare-ups. This makes tracking sleep and understanding how much good or bad sleep impacts your symptoms very important, both to prolong your periods of remission and in order to equip you with the data you need to self-manage living with IBD.
Sleep tracking, along with the recording of mood, medication and other factors, can help you and your specialist to improve your treatment plan. Your treatment plan may include trying different medications or doses of medications, which can impact sleep. Using a sleep tracker to record how you slept in relation to your medication – which you can also record in the My IBD Care app – will make it easier to draw connections between these factors.
Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to our overall health, and it is one that many people neglect. Being aware of your sleep needs and tracking how sleep impacts your IBD symptoms can be invaluable in minimising discomfort and managing your IBD effectively.
How to use a sleep tracker for IBD
The sleep tracker is a simple function of the My IBD Care app and sits alongside other quick record data points like Stress, Diet and Mood. For each, you can slide up or down to record whether you strongly agree or disagree with a statement about it. So for sleep you can record if you strongly agree that you slept well.
It only takes a moment and if you do it each day, the accumulated tracking of how you slept can be pooled to see how you’ve been sleeping and how it relates to other IBD factors. For example, you can see how consistently good sleep aligns with periods of remission, or how a change in your IBD medication has led to poor sleep. If you don’t track your sleep regularly, then it makes it hard to see these connections as you rely on only what you remember.
We recommend recording your sleep every day, just after you wake up, to ensure you don’t miss a day. Sleep tracking will help you to manage your Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis and assist your specialist when revising your treatment plan.
Learn more about sleep & IBD with courses
Alongside the ability to track how your sleep was, there are other features within the My IBD Care app that can help you to improve your understanding of sleep and IBD, such as our courses.
Our expert-led sleep courses range in length and complexity, and offer the option of jumping in and out of single activities or following along with the multi-day course plan. These courses can help you to understand how and why sleep impacts your IBD symptoms.
Sleep courses available through Ampersand include:
- Sleep Basics – a full 28 day sleep improvement course
- Sleep and IBD – a 6 day course on how sleep in IBD works
- Stress, Sleep and IBD – a 6 day course on how stress, IBD and sleep interact
- Sleep and Anxiety – a 4 day course on managing anxiety for your sleep
Other features of the My IBD Care app
The IBD Care app includes multiple features to record various details related to your IBD experience. The data from these features is collated in the app for you to utilise as part of your self-management and to use with your specialist to improve your treatment plan. There are lots of other tracking features, such as for bowel movements and medication.