Insomnia and liver disease have been linked. Do you lie in bed infuriated, for what seems like hours because you can’t fall asleep? No matter how fatigued you feel, you struggle to fall asleep. The majority of us have gone through a phase like this at some point or another, this is normal. But if these sleep problems start to occur on a regular basis and affect your daily life, then you might be suffering from a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is the inability to get the adequate amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling fully rejuvenated and ready for the day. There are many causes for insomnia, ranging from jet lag to serious health problems. Fatty liver disease is another potential cause of insomnia. Fatty liver disease occurs when fat accumulates in the liver, this excess fat can keep the liver from functioning properly and removing toxins from the blood.

What causes fatty liver?

There are two types of fatty liver disease; alcohol-induced and nonalcoholic. Alcoholic fatty liver disease (ALD) is pretty straight forward; it refers to liver damage caused by excessive alcohol intake, which may lead to discomfort on the upper right side of the abdomen. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), on the other hand, is a condition marked by fat accumulation in the liver, even though very little or no alcohol has been consumed. Liver disease changes the way the body produces melatonin, a substance which helps regulate sleep.  Other factors may contribute to sleep disorders, such as smoking, taking certain medication, and drinking alcohol and/or caffeinated beverages.

Fatty liver and sleep apnea.

Fatty liver sufferers may face another sleep problem known as sleep apnea, a condition that causes an individual to repeatedly stop breathing during sleep. Signs of obstructive sleep apnea are insomnia and hypersomnia (the inability to stay awake). Moreover, several NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) studies, have proven that fatty liver disease is directly correlated with, and has a high prevalence in, individuals who suffer from severe sleep apnea.

Possible causes of insomnia for those with liver disease.

For individuals with liver disease who are suffering from insomnia, the following are some possible causes:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver; altered histamine levels in the brain caused by cirrhosis can cause an altered sleep-wake cycle from the onset of the chemical balance changes.
  • Related illnesses; patients with liver disease often suffer from other conditions, including type-2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension; however, all of these conditions can independently cause insomnia.
  • Interferon Treatment; the preferential medical treatment for viral hepatitis B and C can cause insomnia in some individuals.


Tips to to prevent insomnia.

Insomnia is a troubling condition and can seriously impact various facets of one’s day to day life. Some tips for conquering insomnia include:

  • Stick to a bed-time routine by sleeping and waking at the same time every day.
  • Create a quiet and dark environment (if your alarm clock light is bright, place it in a neighboring room).
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.

These suggestions could assist in a better night’s sleep and could even prevent an intensification of insomnia.