Four common sleep problems you shouldn’t ignore

Do you struggle to fall asleep? Do you always feel like getting a good night’s rest is like trying to calm a storm by just looking at it? It doesn’t work. It’s like you’re trying to perform a miracle just to sleep.

Your mind is racing with thoughts, never quite settling down long enough for you to get a good shut-eye. You try to will it. But it exceeds your grasp.

A lot of people struggle to fall asleep at one time or another. Whether it comes from stress, illness, work commitment and other interference to your daily routine. But if sleep difficulties are a consistent problem to you and affecting your personal and professional life, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder.

Here are four common types of sleep disorders and how to deal with them:

1.Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to repose at night when you need to, feeling wide awake or struggling to remain asleep. This is a common sleep problem that a lot of people suffer from.

People that experience insomnia can stay up at night for hours, eyes wide awake incapable of getting a wink of sleep. This obviously will lead to waking in the morning and feeling like you only slept for 10 minutes. Which is not a great way to start the day, especially if you’re supposed to get ready for work.

Regular insomnia can lead to chronic insomnia, which is when a person has more than three episodes in a week for three months or longer. The common causes of chronic insomnia are depression, anxiety and illness.

Adjust your sleep routine and deal with the problems that could trigger your insomnia, such as managing your stress levels and avoiding caffeine a few hours before going to bed. These small changes will help your mind and body to stay relaxed to sleep better.

2.Back Pain

Back pain can turn your sleep into the agony that never ends. It makes falling asleep impossible with all the discomfort you’re feeling. Forget the saying’ sleep like a baby’ when you can’t even find a comfortable position to sleep.

Various reasons can cause back pain, which includes:

  • Sprains and injury.
  • Spine-related problems like a slipped disc.
  • Illnesses such as scoliosis, kidney stones and arthritis. 
  • An uncomfortable mattress. (When was the last time you invested in a good mattress?)

Change your sleeping positions by placing extra pressure on the hips, neck and lower back. If you’re sleeping on your back, put a pillow under your knees. This will promote a better alignment for your spine. And if you lie on your stomach, place a soft pillow under your lower abdomen.

When you have chronic back pain, experts recommend changing your mattress. Learn the different types of mattresses and choose something that supports your back when you sleep.

Doing so is a good investment and ensures you rest through the night without disrupting the quality of your sleep.

3.Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Someone that suffers from RLS has difficulty sleeping because of the constant need to move the legs when resting. This is a medical condition that often leads to sleep deprivation.

The agitation in the legs is usually described as aching, sore, burning, and throbbing. Some RLS sufferers also reported similar symptoms in other parts of the body, including the torso and arms.

To reduce the sensation of RLS, try a hot or cold compression. This can soothe the muscles and may help you sleep through the night. Another thing to do is massaging and moving your legs. This helps with blood circulation and reduce discomfort so you’ll feel more relaxed.

4.Sleep Apnea

Some people handle snoring lightly, and some feel embarrassed about it. But loud snoring may be an indication of sleep apnea.

A classic symptom of sleep apnea include loud snoring, daytime drowsiness, inability to focus, choking and waking at night while feeling out of breath. Sleep apnea occurs when the respiratory tract is blocked,  causing pauses in breathing, hence the loud snoring.

Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Seek treatment and consult with your doctor to control your snoring issue. Untreated sleep apnea could lead to serious health problems if prolonged.

If snoring is causing you (or your partner) to struggle to fall asleep, you can buy nasal strips to open your nasal passages, change your sleeping position, consume less alcohol before bed or purchase a new Sealy pillow. Allergens in your old pillow might contribute to snoring.

The bottom line

Sleeping should be one of the most natural and most comforting things you can do. But if you struggle to fall asleep, determine what’s causing the issue and take steps to resolve it.

The problem could be a medical reason, or it could simply mean it’s time you get a quality mattress that makes sleeping a pleasure again.

So make sure to take action and take your time to do it. You’ll get to enjoy more out of life when you finally get to sleep well.

Simple tips for dealing with insomnia

Insomnia is a disorder characterised by difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Many sufferers get into bed at an acceptable hour but take longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep and report multiple night wakings. In severe cases, the periods of sleeplessness stretch on for hours. This means that those that suffer from insomnia live sleep-deprived.

Insomnia cannot be treated directly. What must be unpacked and addressed are the underlying causes. Here are the most common:

1. Depression
Mood disorders and sleep disorders go hand-in-hand as they are governed by the same batch of neurotransmitters. Mood disorders can be successfully treated with the use of anti-depressants that help in the production of dopamine. This means you will sleep better if you were struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety or irritability. It will also mean that you find it easier to do things during the day (like cook, exercise and work) which also improve both the quality of your sleep and how you feel about your life.

2. Allergies
Insomnia can be linked to underlying allergies – both environmental and food-related. Eliminating the allergies where possible and taking a course of antihistamines can ease the insomnia and get you back on track.

3. Addiction
Overcoming addiction is a great battle. Alcohol, prescription pills and recreational drugs like cocaine and tik all wreak havoc on sleep. Sleep disturbance is also considered a trigger for relapse into drug abuse, which is why it is vital that those recovering from addiction, do all they can to get their regular zzz’s every night. Only non-addictive sleeping tablets should be taken.

4. Hormonal imbalance
Pregnancy and menopause can trigger insomnia due to hormonal changes. Some individuals will require hormone replacement therapy to help them sleep until the transition period comes to an end. Many women report that massaging with essential oils (like lavender and chamomile) and/or taking a mineral supplement (such as magnesium and zinc) helps them fall asleep faster.

5. Anxiety
Lying awake counting your worries is unhelpful. Write down your problems, keep a gratitude journal and get yourself a pet. These will all reduce your anxiety, slow your heart rate and decrease your stress hormones.