Common Sleep issues and How You can Deal With Them

Imagine if you could go to bed every night and sleep for 8 solid hours without waking; that is the case for some people, but for many it is quite the opposite. Insomnia is becoming a health concern in many countries. Granted; in some countries people are awake because they are working but in most cases, adults are awake simply because they cannot get themselves to fall asleep. The price to pay for sleepless nights is a high one – fatigue is just the first but over time you will experience poor health. Fortunately, some of the things that keep us awake are easy to take care of if you are aware what they are. The 3 most common are:

• Pain in the joints is a common reason why many people cannot fall asleep at night. You may be aware of it or not depending on how severe the pain is. The pain can be in any joint. The problem is that when you don’t sleep because of joint pain it gets worse and then because it is worse you can’t sleep – a vicious cycle. You must address all joint pain as soon as soon as you notice it. Have a doctor take a look. If you don’t require medication maybe regular massages will help the pain go away. Coincidentally, massages are a great way of getting to sleep faster and better.

• A partner who annoys you when you are trying to sleep is a major bummer. They could be snorers or maybe they just toss turn so much that you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep. It simply isn’t worth it to share a bed if this is what happens. You risk losing not just sleep but also what may be an otherwise great relationship. If you can get separate sleeping arrangements you will sleep well and you will still love your significant other in the morning and for years to come. If you can’t bear the thought of sleeping apart then find a device that can help with the snoring. As for the tossing and turning you just have to put up with it.

• Too many thoughts at bed time are another bother. It is interesting to note that most of those thoughts are not even about serious stuff – you are usually thinking about mundane little things that can wait. To settle your mind make a list of all the little things you think you need to take care of the next day. Once you feel that everything is covered you will have an easier time falling asleep.

Can’t Sleep: Can Be a Sleep Disorder

Do you wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to sleep again, no matter how tired you are or how hectic your day was? Or do you feel your mood, health and ability to perform daily tasks have altered or worsened? It can be sleeping disorder, insomnia with a risk of some serious underlying condition.

sleep disorders

Each one of us must have experienced this at one time or another. According to the Institute Of Medicine, 50-70 million Americans are affected by sleeping disorders that has been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness, car crashes and behavioral problems. The following health problems are commonly associated with sleep disorders:

  1. Prolonged medical and physical conditions: There are many medical and physical conditions that can cause sleep disorder. Some of the common problems are:
  • Heartburn due to the acidity: Lying down in bed often worsens the heartburn, which is the result of the backup of stomach acid into the esophagus. Avoid the heartburn by abstaining from fatty or heavy food items, alcohol and coffee. Over the counter drugs can help you suppress acidity and aid sound sleep.
  • Diabetes: Diabetic patients find it difficult to sleep because of night sweats and urge to urinate frequently due to diabetes. This affects the sleep pattern and cause inconvenience.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: Arthritis pain makes it hard for people to fall asleep and resettle when they shift positions. Also, treatment with steroids often causes insomnia. You might feel the urge to take the pain killers before bedtime to relieve swelling and pain in your joints during the night, but it might result in sleep disorder.
  1. General mental disorders: People with depression or anxiety often find it difficult to fall asleep. Anxiety, panic attacks and depression often strike at night and it becomes very difficult to sleep. Further, the sleep loss exacerbates the problems and worsens the situation.
  2. Brain and nerve disorders: There are certain nerve and brain disorders that cause sleeplessness. People who suffer from epilepsy are prone to seizures twice more likely as people who suffer from insomnia. The brave wave disturbance causes seizures cause deficit in the slow-wave sleep. Over the time the anti-seizure drugs correct the sleep disturbances if used for long. Other nerve disorders that cause sleep disorder are tumors, strokes, headaches and Parkinson’s disease.

Do not accept poor sleep as a way of your life; instead seek a sleep medicine specialist help. Remember, sound sleep is a necessity and a key to up your potential, and not a luxury.

 

 

 

 

Three Types Of Sleep Disorders You Need To Know About

People frequently talk about spending restless nights because they cannot sleep well. But what most of us don’t realize is that frequent inability to sleep is a warning bell. It marks the onset of sleep disorder, a medical condition that affects the sleep patterns of an individual.

Sleep disorders can be grouped into three categories: lack of sleep or insomnia, excessive sleep and disturbed sleep. Read below to know more about each of them:

Lack of sleep

Insomnia is an inability to fall into the state of sleep. This is a common problem experienced by most people on an occasional basis. When it does happen, most people feel exhausted or tired and it disrupts daily routine. Insomnia may result from diet, emotional difficulties, stress, underlying disease, or other factors.

Individuals experiencing short term insomnia may be prescribed sleeping pills. For long term sufferers, sleeping pills may exacerbate the condition. For them, meditation or professional assistance is recommended.

Disturbed Sleep

Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing is interrupted during sleep. A neurological disorder or mechanical malfunction in your windpipe may be the underlying factor. Age is another reason, because as you get older your muscle tone begins to relax, which may contribute to the collapsing of your windpipe.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where blocked air and loud snoring last for up to 60 seconds. The person may appear to be snorting or gasping for air due to the lack of oxygen. When this happens, the brain responds by tightening the muscles and opening the windpipe. Factors that contribute to sleep apnea include obesity, enlarged nostrils and narrow nasal passages. Smoking, alcohol and sedatives may worsen this condition. Long term effects of the windpipe, closing leads to oxygen deprivation. This is the primary trigger behind decreased mental function and morning headaches. Individuals suffering from sleep apnea are at an increased risk for developing stroke and heart disease.

The other common disturbed sleep disorders are REM sleep behavior disorder, restless legs syndrome and Periodic limb movement disorder. All these need to be addressed with the help of sleep clinics or experienced medical experts.

Excessive Sleep

Narcolepsy is a medical condition whereby a person falls asleep throughout the daytime, lasting from a minute to more than thirty minutes. These sleep attacks occur uncontrollably and can occur at any time, even when the person is busy with an activity. Narcoleptics demonstrate an abnormal sleep pattern. Their entry into REM sleep is premature without entering the normal sequence of sleep. This condition is genetic and has been associated with neurological disease and or brain damage.

The other excessive sleep disorders are Cataplexy, sleep paralysis and Hynagogic hallucinations.

man with sleep paralysis

All the sleep disorders must be dealt seriously as little carelessness can pose serious health and life risks. The best way to tackle the sleep disorder is to acknowledge that you are suffering from disorders and need assistance. This will ensure a health professional and personal life.

 

Top 3 Home Remedies For Curing Insomnia

It is 4:00 A.M. and still the sleep has not knocked your door, and you begin to feel helpless and worries as how will you work tomorrow? How will you cope up with a presentation at the meeting or how will you manage the kids, being sleep deprived?

On an average adult need seven to eight hours of sleep, but insomnia doesn’t let them sleep. Research shows that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and over one-third of US population finds it difficult to sleep enough to function well throughout the day. Also, insomnia has a number of serious health risks associated like cardiovascular diseases, depression and anxiety. To deal with this serious issue, here are some home remedies for curing insomnia:

  1. Get comfortable: The sleep may elude if the bed is too soft or too hard or if the pillows are not right. To get proper sleep it is very important to sleep in a quieter room. As per the National Sleep Foundation the ideal sleep inducing environment is quiet, dark, comfortable and cool. Also, remember the bedroom is the place for sex and sleep and not for eating, work or arguing with your partner.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine: Though, alcohol can make you feel drowsy and put you to sleep, but you will wake up later in the night because of full bladder or a headache or stomach ache. Also, after the sedative effect of alcohol disappears, the rebound effect gives you a lot of trouble to sleep again. And caffeine on the other hand stimulates the brain and affects the sleeping pattern.
  3. Take little sugar: It is suggested to finish your meal at least two to three hours before the bedtime. But to get a sound sleep, a glass of milk and some cookies can do wonders. Eating sugary foods about thirty minutes before bedtime act as a sedative and induce sound sleep. Honey has the same effect like sugar. Add one tablespoon of honey to your cup of herbal tea or warm milk and enjoy a relaxed sleep.

Other home remedies that you must try are establishing a sleep pattern, exercise, adequate carbohydrates and meditation. The secret is to make the body and mind feel relaxed so that you can sleep.

Sleep Disorder makes Pregnancy Term Even Difficult

Pregnancy poses several hardships in a woman’s life. A woman undergoes millions of physical and mental changes right from the first day of pregnancy. Even though most of the problems like nausea, fatigue, constipation and hypertension are well addressed by gynecologists, there is another problem that is equally challenging but gets ignored by one and all. You guessed it right! It is sleep disorder or pregnancy insomnia. What makes the condition even worse is that you are actually not able to sleep even though you are tired. Wondering what the causes are behind it? Some of them are listed below for your convenience:

  1. Changing hormones: Pregnancy insomnia is the result of changing hormone levels. In fact, the excessive daytime sleepiness in the first trimester is the result of high levels of a hormone called progesterone. Some hormones change the working pattern of muscles which results in snoring during pregnancy leading to sleep apnea.
  2. Anxiety and emotions: Pregnancy is a time in which a woman is over brimming with emotions. These emotions include motherhood joy, anxiety about the remaining pregnancy and fears of delivery and labor, the future of the baby to come, maintain work life balance amongst all things. All these things increase the anxiety levels and aggravate insomnia.
  3. Physical discomforts: During the third trimester, there is a very frequent urge of urinating which hampers a sound sleep. Apart from it, the growing belly also causes discomfort and you have to keep changing sides to shift the weight and as a result you end up having sleepless nights.

Even though sleep disorders are considered as a part and parcel of pregnancy, they have a direct impact on some of the problems like low birth weight, preeclampsia and gestational hypertension. So it is highly recommended to consult your gynecologist about your sleep disorders instead of spending away the nights tossing on the bed. In case, your problem is severe, you may also consult a sleep disorder clinic to ensure a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby.

How To Deal With Night Terror In Children

As a parent are you aware of the difference between a nightmare and night terror. Yes these two are different terms. Night terror is a fear that is inconsolable, no matter what you try. The night terror is a sleep disruption that is similar to nightmare, but with an exaggerated dramatic presentations. Night terrors typically occur in children aged between three to twelve years of age.

Night terrors occur during the Stage 4 Deep Sleep or during the transition from Stage to REM Sleep. Scientists believe that night terrors are caused by over-arousal of the central nervous system that regulates the brain activity. The night terrors are marked with symptoms like bolt upright in bed, moan, scream, cry, thrash and mumble.

Most children outgrow the night terror as with time the brain matures and the problem disappears. But, if you are worried for your child and looking for some tips to handle the night terrors, read below:

  1. Keep calm: It is possible that your child does not remember the incidents that traumatized him. On seeing your child in pain and inconsolable, don’t lose your calm. Only reassuring voices and words of love can calm the kid. If possible, hug the kid to make them feel secured in the first place.
  2. Minimize stress: If your child is going through night terror, don’t try and bring developmental changes. Try not exposing the kid to parental loud voices and other emotional stressors. Instead of yelling, spankings and timeouts use positive discipline. Also, minimize the scheduled changes and nights away from home.
  3. Restrict watching television: Kids should not be allowed to watch TV because it negatively impacts the development of the brain. Also, study shows that TV is stressful for the little ones as they might believe that the dramatized world is the real one.
  4. Don’t let the child over exert: Don’t let the child over exert or get over-tired as it can aggravate the problem and make the child susceptible to night terrors. Ensure that the child has a regular bedtime routine and gets enough sleep. If the child stays up for longer than usual the hormones and adrenaline needs to keep it together. Moving to an earlier bedtime, help the kids fall asleep more easily at night and lessen the possibility of the over-arousal.


These four tips will help you deal with the crankiness and uneasiness of the child when they experience night terror.

Narcolepsy is the extreme and uncontrollable desire to fall asleep during the day. It is a neurological disorder that specifically affects the control of sleep. Signs of narcolepsy commonly appear between the ages of 15 and 25. However, narcolepsy can also become apparent during any stage of life. Narcolepsy is a very extreme condition, a step above simply not sleeping well.  There are a variety of symptoms that will cause attention to the fact that you may have narcolepsy.

Symptoms

  • Hypnagogic Hallucinations – This is when a person has vivid visions immediately after waking up or during the very beginning stages of sleep.
  • Cataplexy – When experiencing this symptom, loss of voluntary muscle and a feeling of weakness will be present. This usually is brought on by intense emotion that ranges from anger to laughter and results in the body collapsing or experiencing slurred speech.
  • Extreme Daytime Sleepiness – It will be hard to fight off sleep when experiencing this system. Those who suffer with narcolepsy will feel extreme exhaustion, depression and mental cloudiness.
  • Sleep Paralysis – This symptom is one of the scariest to experience. Upon falling asleep or in the process of waking up the body will not be able to move. This symptom usually lasts a few seconds to a few minutes.

Causes

  • Hereditary Genes – Scientists have discovered that the genes responsible for controlling the chemicals in the brain that directly affect sleep cycles can cause narcolepsy.
  • Brain Abnormalities – REM sleep can be disturbed by brain abnormalities causing symptoms to appear.
  • Autoimmune Disorder – Researchers have found that autoimmune disorders mistakenly attack the body’s tissues and cells commonly causing symptoms of narcolepsy.

Video on diagnosing narcolepsy

Those who experience the symptoms of narcolepsy are encouraged to see their doctor. Sufferers should discuss symptoms with their doctor advise if there is a family history of narcolepsy to help pin point the cause. There is not a cure known at this time. However, therapy, lifestyle changes and medication can work together to improve narcolepsy symptoms and quality of life.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder experienced by many. It occurs when a person has a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep. It results in poor-quality sleep or lack of sleep. Insomnia can be caused by a variety of issues and has symptoms that will alert you that it is a possibility you may be experiencing insomnia. There are two types of insomnia, primary insomnia that is not directly associated with other health issues and secondary insomnia which is a result from a medical disorder such as arthritis, heartburn and asthma.  Insomnia will definitely lead to sleep deprivation.

Causes of Chronic Insomnia

  • Chronic stress.
  • Physical pain.
  • Anxiety.

Causes of Acute Insomnia

  • Physical discomfort.
  • Emotional discomfort.
  • Environmental factors such as extreme temperature, light and noise.
  • Life stress like going through a divorce, experiencing job loss or a death of a loved one.
  • Serious illness.
  • Side effects from prescription medications.
  • Jet lag.
  • Working a night shift.

Symptoms

  • Exhaustion during the day.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Problems with memory.
  • Feeling tired when waking up.
  • Problems falling asleep.
  • Waking up before the alarm.

Diagnosis

If you feel that you are experiencing insomnia visit your physician immediately. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam to determine if your insomnia is linked to a medical condition. In addition, the doctor may require you to keep a sleep journal and encourage you to keep notes of your sleep habits. Depending on your specific situation and your doctor’s opinion, you may be referred to a sleep specialist for further review.

Treatment for Acute Insomnia

Short-term insomnia may not require treatment. Sometimes acute insomnia is a brief result of life stress and dissolves on its own as the stressful situation is resolved. Other time, improving sleep habits is beneficial to curing acute insomnia.

 

Treatment for Chronic Insomnia

Long-term insomnia usually requires treatment by a physician. First your doctor will treat any underlying conditions that may be the cause of your chronic insomnia. Relaxation exercises and behavioral therapy are also tools that help dissolve and prevent chronic insomnia.

Improving Sleep Habits

Whether you have chronic or acute insomnia improving your sleep habits such as aroma therapy, taking a warm bath with essential oils, reading a book, exercising on a regular basis, avoiding caffeine and quit smoking, go to sleep at the same time every night and don’t eat two hours before bed will be beneficial.

Insomnia is a common complaint that people have who are under extreme stress for long periods of time. While stress is a part of everyday life, many people have a difficult time dealing with serious life issues. The constant worry, fear and focus of a stressful situation can cause many to lie awake at night and experience insomnia. Although the stressful situation might still be apparent, improving sleep habits will assist in calming nerves and relaxing the mind. Insomnia can be maintained, prevented and cured with the right tools and under the guidance of a physician.

10 signs you are sleep deprived

Almost everyone has a time in their life when they stay up late to finish a report for work or just need a few extra hours in the day to clean the house or conduct late night research online. It’s common for you to easily shave off a few hours of sleep to complete a task. Besides, how else are you going to add hours to your day? While it is ok to occasionally and randomly miss out on a few hours of sleep, making it a daily habit can cause you to become sleep deprived. There are specific signs that will alert you that you are experiencing sleep deprivation.

  • Inability to Handle Stress – Daily life is full of stressful situations big or small. If you are showing signs that you can’t handle small stressful situations without losing your temper there is a chance that this is a sign of sleep deprivation.
  • Poor Memory – Are you becoming forgetful? Not just about what time your favorite show is on, but forgetting important appointment times and days. Or, even forgetting acquaintances names? Chronic poor memory loss can be directly linked with sleep deprivation.
  • Experiencing Clumsiness – It is one thing to stub a toe every now and then, but are you dropping things, bumping into things or experiencing clumsy moments on a daily basis? Chronic clumsiness is frequently caused by lack of sleep.
  • Stressful Relationships – Are your spouse and children running into another room when you arrive home? Are friends avoiding you? It is a possibility that your lack of sleep is causing you to become moody and grouchy, possibly taking your frustrations out on the ones you love.
  • Lack of Concentration – Are you unable to focus on your work or school work? Do you have to read the same sentence a few times just to comprehend it? Lack of concentration or difficulty focusing and understanding a situation or work related information can be caused by sleep deprivation.
  • Increased Appetite – Do you feel like you are hungry more than usual throughout the day and evening? An increased appetite happens when you lack sleep and your body does not have the chance to regulate hormones that affect your appetite, causing you to feel hungry and consume more food than usual.
  • Falling Asleep Immediately – Placing your head on your pillow at night and immediately falling to sleep is a sign that your body is exhausted and needs more sleep.
  • Zoning Out – Suddenly zoning out mid-conversation or in the middle of work or traffic is a dangerous symptom of sleep deprivation. It can cause accidents, errors in your work and cause arguments with others due to your lack of attention.
  • Impulsive Behavior – Making quick decisions based on emotion instead of thinking the topic through can be caused by sleep deprivation. It is possible that you are so tired that you are carelessly making decisions just to get through the day.
  • Sleeping in Public Places – Falling asleep in public places such as a movie theatre or restaurant is a sign that you need to sleep more. This shows that your body is experiencing sleep deprivation and is trying to find time to sleep at any moment you enter a dark, cool environment.

As you can see the sleep deprivation signs can have a negative impact on your day to day life. If left untreated you can truly cause many problems in your life ranging from job loss to an automobile accident. If you are experiencing these symptoms and are noticeably having difficulty sleeping or you are overwhelmed with your daily schedule, it is wise to seek consultation from your doctor.