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Potential Sleep Saboteurs

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by MziziMkavu, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
    Messages: 38,305
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    8 factors that could be keeping you up at night.


    When sleep disturbances persist for longer than a month, it's important to identify any underlying causes. Consider whether these common triggers could be contributing to your restless nights.
    In one study, 15 percent of Americans reported suffering from chronic pain, and two-thirds also reported having sleep problems. Back pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint syndrome (problems with the jaw muscles) are the main causes of pain-related sleep loss.
    Mental illness and stress
    Insomnia is both a symptom and a cause of depression and anxiety. Since the brain uses the same neurotransmitters for sleep and mood, it's often hard to know which starts first. Stressful situations or events, such as money or marital problems, often kick off insomnia that can become a long-term problem.
    If you are one of the 37 million chronic snorers in the U.S., your buzz saw may be no big deal; an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of Americans snore, most without consequence. But in some cases snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, a disorder linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

    Jet lag
    Crossing over time zones throws off your internal clock, which tells your brain to sleep when it's dark and wake up when it's light. Your body can take up to three days to adjust to the new light/dark schedule in another time zone, and if you fly across time zones often, jet lag can cause chronic sleep problems.
    Shift work
    A schedule that's contrary to normal wake-sleep hours¬ólike those of doctors, nurses, or other shift workers¬ócan upset your body's circadian rhythm. People who work rotating shifts have lower levels of serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that helps regulate sleep, according to a 2007 study at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
    Hormonal changes
    Menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy are some of the primary sources of sleep problems among women. Hot flashes, tender breasts, and frequent urination all interrupt regular sleep patterns. According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 40 percent of perimenopausal women (those who are in their menopausal transition years) have sleep problems.
    Medical illnesses
    Often, sleep difficulties surface along with other medical conditions. With lung disease or asthma, for example, wheezing and shortness of breath can disrupt your sleep, particularly in the early morning. If you suffer from heart failure you may develop abnormal breathing patterns. Parkinson's and other neurological diseases count insomnia as a frequent side effect.
    Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can disrupt your sleep, particularly if you take them close to bedtime or if your dosage is increased. If you notice sleep difficulties that coincide with a change in your medication regimen, ask your doctor about a possible connection.