Fatty liver disease: Symptoms may include waking up between 1am and 4am
NAFLD describes the presence of fat cells within the liver, which affects most individuals to varying degrees. Problems arise when these fat cells prevent organs from functioning properly, causing toxic waste to build up in the body. The greater the extent of this damage, the less likely the organ will recover, which in some cases may justify a liver transplant.
Sleep Disturbances are a well-known feature of liver scarring that can significantly impair quality of life, according to the journal Nature and Science of Sleep.
Doctor Brian Lunan integrative and functional medicine specialist and chiropractor based in Kansas City, suggests recording your waking times to determine if liver disease is causing sleep disturbances.
The expert explained: “Usually the most common cause of waking up between 1 and 4 am is a liver problem.
“It could be that you have inflammation of the liver or fatty liver disease, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”
According to Journal of Thoracic Diseasesleep disorders affect approximately 60 to 80 percent of patients with chronic liver disease.
The most common manifestations are insomnia, reduced sleep efficiency, daytime sleepiness and restless legs syndrome.
“When your liver becomes burdened with accumulated fat, it can no longer satiate and detoxify your body efficiently and effectively,” explained Dr. Lun.
“Since toxins cannot be safely neutralized and removed from the body, the risk of degenerative diseases increases.
“So if your liver is sluggish and stagnant due to fat build-up during liver cleanse times (1 and 4 a.m.), the body will try to allocate more energy to detoxification and encourage your nervous system to wake up.”
However, it should be noted that a person’s circadian rhythm can change with age, which is why early morning awakenings are more common in older adults.
In this population, there is an increased tendency to wake up three to four times each night, according to The foundation for sleep.
Conditions such as nocturia, anxiety and other symptoms can be potential causes of age-related sleep changes.
Although there is a lack of research supporting a role for liver disease in waking between 1 and 4 a.m., some studies have linked wake time variability to various lifestyle factors.
Research published in the Journal of Public Health in 2015, suggested that sleep times that varied by more than 30 minutes reflected lower diet quality and higher alcohol consumption.
In other words, inconsistent bedtimes appear to be associated with poorer overall lifestyle patterns.
The researchers added: “Higher variability in wake time, usual bedtime and usual wake time was inconsistently associated with lifestyle.”