4 Common Sleep Problems and How to Fix Them

By Edward Dominguez, RN/Licensed School N posted 10-15-2019 01:00

  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of all Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. You may be battling to fall asleep and stay asleep. Perhaps you wake up tired in the morning and feel as though you haven’t had a restful night’s sleep. 

Sleepline suggests using a sleep tracker to help you find out more about your sleep patterns. Once you understand more about what’s affecting your sleep, you have a better chance of finding solutions. 

  1. Snoring

Snoring can interrupt your sleep enough to make you feel as though you haven’t had a restful night’s sleep. 

A simple fix is to try changing your sleep position. You’re less likely to snore if you sleep on your side rather than your back. 

A less simple fix is to lose about 10 pounds in weight. Extra fat in the neck or throat can narrow the airways and result in snoring. 

It helps to avoid alcohol, which may cause deeper sleep initially but makes you wakeful in the long run and dehydration can trigger snoring. Using sleeping pills or sedatives can also increase snoring because they relax the throat muscles – avoid them if you can. 

If none of these fixes help, your doctor may recommend using a dental appliance or snoring guard. There are also surgical procedures to clear tissue out of the way or remove the uvula, which opens up the airways. 

  1. Teeth grinding (Bruxism)

If you grind your teeth at night, you may wake up with a headache or a sore jaw. Bruxism may be less talked about than other sleep problems, but it is actually fairly common. 

It is important for you to have a dental examination because bite problems are often the cause of bruxism and it can cause damage to your teeth. Wearing a dental guard is usually suggested to prevent your jaw from clenching. Another treatment is to use Botox injections in the jaw muscles. 

  1. Frequent urination

This is such a common problem that as we age that it even has a name – nocturia. Many adults are sleep deprived because they need to use the bathroom frequently at night. 

You should get checked out by a doctor to see if frequent urination is a result of health problems, such as prostate problems in men and urinary tract infections in women. Some strategies can help relieve pressure on the bladder if it is caused by normal aging and not by other health issues. 

  • Don’t drink liquids three hours before bedtime 
  • Cut down on tea and coffee consumption as this can irritate the bladder. 
  • Don’t eat foods with high liquid content, like soup or fruit, after dinner. 
  1. Disrupted circadian rhythms 

The internal clock that controls your sleep-wake cycle can be upset by changes in your routine. For example, if you’re a nurse that has been doing night duty for a while, you may find that when you go back to day-duty, you battle to sleep at night. 

If you suspect your circadian rhythms have become disrupted, you have to find a way to get your body back into a regular sleep pattern. Choose an appropriate time to go to bed and wake up and then stick to your routine, even on weekends. 

Going out in the bright sunlight in the morning and avoiding bright screens two hours before you go to sleep at night can also help to restore your sleep-wake cycle. This is because your body produces a hormone called melatonin that regulates your sleep cycle. It produces greater amounts when it is dark and less when it is light. 

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