Most of us have encountered difficulty in falling asleep in their comfortable mattress at one time or another. Usually, this is because of stress, disease, jet lag, or other minor interruptions on your routine. Everybody has frequent sleep problems. How can you identify if it's just a minor or an indication of a more severe sleeping disorder or underlying health illness? Begin by examining your signs, finding the noticeable indications of sleep deprivation, particularly in the morning.
Common Sleep Problems and Causes
Here's how to identify the symptoms and treatment you need:
Problem #1: Cannot Fall Asleep – Cannot Stay Asleep
At some point, most individuals experience short-term insomnia. Insomnia involves having trouble sleeping, having difficulty staying asleep, and waking up too soon. Sleeplessness is more prevalent in women, people with depression, and individuals over the age of 60. Short term insomnia may arise from loud uncontrollable noise, stressful event, medications, and bad sleep habits.
Temporary insomnia only lasts for a few days and is not generally a problem. For instance, your body's circadian rhythm will adjust itself within a few days with jet lag or even shifts in seasonal time. Insomnia is regarded as chronic if it lasts for a couple of weeks or more for most evenings.
Insomnia is sometimes induced by an underlying disease that requires treatment and medication, such as depression, anxiety, asthma, restless leg syndrome, thyroid disorders, and arthritis.
If you have longer-term conditions, it's worthy of seeking professional help. If you're uncertain if you have chronic insomnia, specialists recommend that you look at it as if you'd have a headache. If it happens day after day, and nothing seems to help you, you should see a healthcare professional, especially if you can't find a cause.
Problem #2: Sleepy During the Day
It's natural to feel tired every once in a while, throughout the day. However, if it's interfering with your daily operations is unusual for drowsiness. For instance, you shouldn't be shutting down while reading a magazine, during company meetings, laying on your rug runner or waiting in red light. Other red flags include slow thinking, difficulty paying attention, heavy eyelids, and feeling cranky.
If you continuously feel sleepy throughout the day, you may need to spend more time sleeping. Experts say that most adults need to be well-rested for at least seven hours of sleep each night, but this differs from individual to individual. The bottom line is that you should sleep for the number of hours it takes you to feel energized, rejuvenated, and fully awake the next day.
You shouldn't have daytime sleepiness if you've had sufficient sleep. Power naps can be useful, but napping should be done before 3 PM and no more than an hour to avoid difficulty falling asleep at night.
If you still feel sleepy while doing your daily routine even though you had adequate sleep, you should speak to your health care provider. Several sleep disorders could lead to overwhelming daytime sleepiness. For instance, though after a complete hour of sleep, individuals with narcolepsy experience excessive drowsiness.
Problem #3: Snoring
Snoring is loud breathing that happens while asleep when the relaxed structures in the throat vibrate and create noise. Most snoring is harmless, although it may interfere with others' sleep. Some snoring can be prevented with modifications in lifestyle such as losing weight, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and sleeping on your side.
To widen the space in your nose and make it easier for you to breathe, you can buy nasal strips and position it over your nose. Carefully read the labels because the only purpose of these strips is to treat snoring. The packaging of these nose strips points out certain diseases requiring a doctor's prescription.
The key is to figure out what causes your snoring. It may be associated with allergies or structural issues such as nasal polyps or extended adenoids that are behind the nose lymphoid tissue. You can always switch to a latex mattress to combat allergies. If your snoring is getting frequent and has excessive daytime sleepiness as well, you might have sleep apnea. Male and overweight people tend to be more prone to have sleep apnea than female and healthier ones.
When an individual with sleep apnea attempts to breathe in the air, the windpipe collapses and traps the airflow. Levels of blood oxygen drop and the brain wake up the individual who snorts or gasps for air and then resume snoring. Usually, this cycle is repeated several times throughout the night.
Thus, it leads to periodic awakenings that stop individuals from reaching the deepest phases of sleep cycle at night. It may leave them sleepy throughout the day.
Tracking your symptoms
The first stage to overcome a sleep disorder or issue is to detect your symptoms and sleep habits thoroughly and monitor them closely.
Keep a sleep diary
Having a sleep diary can help you identify daytime and nighttime practices that can add to your sleep problems. If you ultimately need to see a sleep doctor, keeping a record of your sleep patterns and issues will also be useful.
You should include these things in your sleep diary:
- Sleeping and waking up time
- Overall sleep time and presumed sleep quality
- Time you spent waking up and what you did
- Kinds and amount of food and beverages consumed before bed as well as the time you consumed it
- Feelings and moods
- Medications taken
The specifics can be essential, showing how these behaviors can spoil your opportunity to have a good night's sleep. For instance, after keeping a diary for a whole week, you may recognize you usually wake up at night when you have more than one glass of wine in the late evening.
Self-help for sleep problems
While some sleep disorders may require a visit to the doctor, you can improve many sleeping problems on your own.
Improve your daytime habits
Despite your sleep problems, following your regular sleep timetable, frequent exercise, restricting your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the afternoon, and stress management will result in better sleep.
Develop a relaxing bedtime routine
Ensure your room is peaceful, dark, and cold. Also, avoid consuming heavy snacks and excessive liquids late at night. Instead of searching how to clean mattress stains on your phone at night, do it first thing in the morning to avoid stimulating activities in your brain.
Moreover, pamper yourself by enjoying a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, and switch off devices at least one hour before bedtime.
Get back to sleep when you wake up at night
Waking up shortly at night is normal, whether you have a sleep disorder or not. If you have difficulty getting back to bed, you can try concentrating on your breathing, meditation, or other soothing technique. Note anything that worries you at night will be more natural to solve if you decide to resolve the next day.
When to call a doctor
If you have unsuccessfully attempted a range of self-help remedies, plan an appointment with a sleep specialist or ask your family physician to refer you to a sleep clinic if you have daytime sleepiness problems, falling asleep at inappropriate times, and breathing issues while asleep. Give your doctor as many valuable data as possible, including your sleep diary data.