.Sleep Problems?

Sleep Problems? More Reasons Why You May Have a Sleeping Disorder

You would think that something like sleep would be simple. You close your eyes, fall asleep, wake up and your eyes open. Not so.

There are many reasons for sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea. In my last post I wrote about problems with sleeping as you age, the sleep cycle, changes in your biological clock and how symptoms from chronic diseases keep us awake.

This post describes a few more possible causes such as medications may be keeping you awake. Did you know there is the possibility that some of the over-the-counter medications may contain caffeine as an active ingredient? Excedrin Migraine, for example, or even the prescription drug, Fiorinal, for migraines contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. If you take these pills at night, they will keep you awake.

Prednisone used for arthritis or Zocor used as an anti depressant may also be keeping you up at night. This is true of many herbal preparations also. This is a good time to talk to your doctor and find out what else they have to recommend.

People who suffer from an over active bladder or uncontrollable urges to urinate frequently have their sleep interrupted. Drinking too much fluid in the evening will make this situation even worse.  There are medications for overactive bladders but if there’s something you can do without going on a new medication, my advice is to try that first.  There are always side effects to any medication.

Besides, sometimes what we assume is an overactive bladder, especially for women, may be just a bad habit. As we get older, we tend to awaken more often during the night.  You probably think as long as I’m awake, I’ll go to the bathroom and this becomes a habit. To break the habit, tell yourself you don’t have to get up and go and allow yourself to go back to sleep. It may take a while to break the habit, but see how that works.

What you eat and drink the day and evening before will certainly impact your sleep.  A mid-afternoon cup of coffee could be keeping you awake. A big meal late in the evening can cause heartburn which will keep you awake.

Snoring is another primary cause of sleep problems People who are overweight are usually the worst offenders. Loud snoring may also be a symptom of sleep apnea (OSA) which is associated with high blood pressure and other problems. With OSA, breathing stops, sometimes as long as 10 to 40 seconds, and your oxygen drops low. This alerts the brain, causing you to waken briefly and breathing resumes. These stoppages of breathing can occur repeatedly causing multiple sleep disruptions throughout the night. Chances are you won’t be able to function very well the next day.

My personal health goals include not taking a medication if possible. And I’m not sure something you find on a drug store shelf will be better for you than a prescription. Some of these sleep aids can be habit forming. Another good reason to check this out with your doctor.

Not Sleeping? Learn Why You May Have Insomnia

You are not alone if you are having a problem sleeping. According to the National Sleep Foundation more than 50 percent of Americans have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep.  The reason for some concern is that too little sleep can compromise the immune system and that becomes more of an issue as you get older.

One reason you may be sleeping less is age-related. Along with the physical changes that occur as you get older, your changing sleep patterns are also a normal part of aging. As people get older they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than they did when they were younger. The amount of sleep you need, however, does not decline with age. What may be keeping you up is a change in your sleep patterns.

Sleep occurs in multiple stages including dreamless periods of light and deep sleep and occasional periods of active dreaming (REM sleep). The sleep cycle is repeated several times during the nigh although the total amount of sleep remains the same. It appears, however, that older people spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep.

Your biological clock may also be changing. You may be getting sleepy earlier , nodding off at 8 pm in front of the TV and then wake up before dawn. That can lead to napping during the day and you become used to sleeping in bits and pieces.

This pattern is called advance sleep phase syndrome. Yes, it actually has a name.

The sleep rhythm is shifted forward so that 7 or 8 hours of sleep are still obtained but you may be waking up very early because you went to bed early. Some researchers say this may have to do with light exposure and treatment options for advance sleep phase syndrome typically include bright light therapy.

Another possible  reason for lack of sleep is that as we age we have more chronic diseases which cause pain and may interfere with sleep. Conditions such as heart burn, high blood pressure, a bad back, arthritis, can all lead to interrupted sleep.

It is worth talking to your doctor about your sleep concerns and about any symptoms they may have. Your doctor can tell you if you have a serious problem.  She may also tell you to stop drinking coffee in the afternoon and to give up napping during the day so you can get a good night’s rest. Insomnia can impact other health issues such as diabetes

Sleep apnea, in which airways become blocked during sleep, awaking the sleeper many times during the night is another reason why you may be tired during the day.  This is a condition that often causes daytime sleepiness.

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