Do you struggle with lack of sleep? Perhaps you can’t get to sleep, stay asleep, get restful sleep or get enough sleep. Whatever the issue, here is a list of common health problems and sleep disorders along with solutions and treatment suggestions. To determine where your sleep problems originate, ask your doctor about a sleep study referral. A sleep study explores all factors affecting sleep and will provide you with a profile to help you determine what avenues of treatment to pursue.
Health Problem / Sleep Problem: Diet and lack of good nutrition. What you eat, especially before bed affects sleep. Caffeine, sugar, heavy meals, spicy foods, gassy foods, acidic foods, fatty foods, too much alcohol: all these foods will cause sleep problems. Going to bed hungry affects sleep also.
-Solution: Avoid eating these foods before bed. Do not take vitamins before bed. But do eat a light, high protein, nutritious snack before bed. This will give your body sustenance before sleep, without forcing the body to digest a large, heavy meal during the night. Warm milk has L-tryptophan which is a sleep aid.
Health Problem / Sleep Disorder: Allergies (seasonal allergies, pet allergies and household allergies)
-Solution: Wash bedding and rotate mattress frequently. Vacuum sleeping area regularly. Sleep with the window closed. Run an air purifier or air filter. Keep pets out of the bedroom, if you have pet dander allergies. Take Zyrtec (Cetirizine) or Claritin (Loratadine) before bed. Benadryl also works well, but usually causes extreme drowsiness the following morning.
Health Problem / Sleep Disorder: Breathing problems
-Solution: Flush sinuses with a Neilmed Neti-Pot or bulb syringe saline rinse. Consult your doctor about a condition called ‘deviated septum’ (misshapen cartilage in the nose that causes breathing problems). Your may require a simple out-patient surgery called a ‘septoplasty’ with turbinate resection (also called turbinate reduction) to correct breathing problems.
Health problem / Sleep disorder: Snoring
-Solution: Try a nose plug or nose cones to hold nasal passages open. Breathe Right Nasal Strips may also help. A sleep study will help to determine whether you suffer from sleep apnea and to what level. A breathing machine called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) may be prescribed.
Health problem / Sleep disorder: Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS. RLS can be caused by lack of exercise, strenuous exercise before bed, lack of sleep and other issues.
-Solution: Click here for RLS support.
Health problem / Sleep disorder: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ. TMJ causes jaw problems, sore throat, grinding teeth, headache, face pain, earache, migraine and other chronic pain.
-Solution: There are therapies, exercises and surgical procedures to treat TMJ, available from your doctor or dentist. A sleep study will reveal TMJ issues. Click here for TMJ treatment options.
Health problem / Sleep disorder: Sleep positioning issues. A sleep study will reveal any sleep problems due to how your body is positioned during sleep.
-Solution: A sleep positioning pillow or Memory foam contour pillow is an inexpensive solution for sleep positioning. Sleep positioning therapy is available; click here for details and discuss with your doctor.
Health problem / Sleep disorder: Emotional issues, stress and PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
-Cognitive therapy can be immensely helpful in the treatment of emotional issues that affect sleep patterns. Visit my blogs Emotional Health Help and Health Help 4U for information, treatment options, self-help, therapies, medications, substance abuse issues, 12 Step programs and support groups for emotional issues.