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Can anemia cause sleep problems?

Can anemia cause sleep problems?

Yes, there is a correlation between anemia and poor sleep quality. If you have anemia, you might feel tired, weak, and short of breath. You might also have trouble falling asleep.

How exactly is anemia linked to sleep disorders? Let’s find out.

Types of Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood.

There are many types of anemia, each with its own cause. It is important to identify them correctly so that proper treatment can be given.

The most common types of anemia are:

  • Iron deficiency anemia: This type of anemia is caused by a lack of iron in the diet or by blood loss.
  • Non-iron deficiency anemia: This type of anemia can be caused by many things, including certain medications, blood disorders, and even pregnancy.
  • Folic acid deficiency anemia: This type of anemia is caused by a lack of folic acid in the diet.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia: This type of anemia is caused by a lack of vitamin B12 in the diet.
  • Aplastic anemia: This type of anemia is caused by a failure of the bone marrow to produce enough red blood cells.
  • Sickle cell anemia: This type of anemia is caused by a mutation in the red blood cells.
  • Thalassemia: This type of anemia is caused by a mutation in the hemoglobin molecule.

Is there a correlation between anemia and sleep problems?

There is some evidence to suggest that there may be a correlation between anemia and sleep problems. It is likely that insomnia is a consequence of iron deficiency. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Common signs and symptoms of anemia and insomnia

Symptoms of Anemia:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Irritability

Symptoms of Insomnia:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Waking up early in the morning
  • Feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep
  • Feeling tired during the day

As you can see, both anemia and insomnia can cause fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. All of these can lead to very poor sleep quality at night. 

Anemia and restless leg syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move one’s legs. The urge to move occurs when a person is at rest or lying down and is often accompanied by an unpleasant sensation in the legs.

If you are suffering from RLS, you might find yourself waking up at odd times of the night, disrupting your normal bedtime routine.

Symptoms of restless leg syndrome

  • An irresistible urge to move your legs
  • A tingling sensation in your legs
  • An uncomfortable feeling in your leg 

Is anemia linked to restless leg syndrome?

Some evidence suggests that anemia may be linked to restless leg syndrome. Insufficient iron level in the body is a strong factor that can worsen restless leg syndrome. 

What helps you sleep when you have restless leg syndrome?

There are a few things that can help with restless leg syndrome when trying to sleep. One is to take a hot bath before bed which can relax the muscles and help with any pain.

You can also elevate the legs when sleeping by propping them up on a pillow or two. This can help to take the pressure off of the legs and make them feel more comfortable.

Stretching the legs before bed can also be helpful in relieving any tension that might be causing restless leg syndrome.

Treatment of anemia to improve sleep quality

Most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a day to feel rested and be healthy. If you’re struggling with insomnia, you might be surprised to learn that anemia could be the underlying cause.

If you have anemia, your blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. This can lead to fatigue, which can then contribute to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

How to raise iron levels 

There are a few things you can do to raise your iron levels at home. One is to eat foods that are high in iron, such as red meat, dark leafy greens, beans, and nuts.

You can also take iron supplements, and make sure to get enough vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron.

When to see a doctor 

If you have anemia and are experiencing symptoms of insomnia, it is important to see a doctor to determine the cause. If your doctor suspects that your anemia is causing your insomnia, they may recommend treatment options, such as iron supplements or blood transfusions.

It is also important for the doctor to diagnose which kind of anemia the patient has since there are many different types of anemia. It can be temporary or long-term, and it can range from mild to severe.

It is always best to see a doctor immediately.

Tips to sleep better if you have anemia

If you’re one of the millions of people with anemia, you know that getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. Anemia can cause fatigue, which can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. But there are some things you can do to help yourself get the rest you need.

Here are some tips to sleep better if you have anemia:

  1. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.
  2. Establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
  4. Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed.
  5. Get up and move around every few hours to keep your energy up.
  6. Practice relaxation techniques before bed, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
  7. Talk to your doctor about taking a sleep aid if other measures don’t help.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the most common symptoms of anemia?

The most common symptom of anemia is fatigue. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, pale skin, chest pain, dizziness, headache, and cold hands and feet.

What are the most common causes of anemia?

The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency. Other causes may include blood loss, bone marrow problems, and certain chronic diseases.

Why do people with anemia have trouble sleeping?

There are a few reasons why people with anemia may have trouble sleeping. One reason is that anemia can cause fatigue, which can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Another reason is that anemia can cause restless legs syndrome, which can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Anemia can also cause headaches, which can make it harder for people to get continuous sleep.

How much sleep does an anemic person need?

There is no definitive answer to how much sleep duration is best. Depending on the severity of the anemia, some people may need more sleep than others. In general, however, people with anemia should aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Is restless leg syndrome due to anemia?

It is possible that RLS is caused by a combination of factors, including anemia. Iron deficiency should be treated as soon as possible. If you are concerned that you may have RLS, speak to your doctor for a diagnosis.

Is insomnia treatable?

Yes, insomnia is a treatable condition. There are many different ways to treat insomnia, and the best treatment for you may vary depending on the underlying cause of your insomnia.

Some common treatments for insomnia include behavioral changes (such as making sure to keep a regular sleep schedule), relaxation techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Medications may also be used to help treat insomnia, but they should only be used as a last resort. 

What are the most common treatments for anemia?

Treatment for anemia typically involves taking iron supplements. Your doctor may also recommend other treatments, depending on the cause of your anemia. 


Anemia can cause sleep problems, especially if left untreated. Low levels of iron in the blood can lead to anemia, which can then cause fatigue.

Anemia can also cause restless leg syndrome, which hinders the quality of sleep. If you think you might be suffering from anemia, talk to your doctor to get a blood test and get medication.

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