There are a number of difficulties and physical problems that can occur during the time that we are supposed to be sleeping, and snoring is probably the most common and the most disruptive. If you snore, there are a number of techniques you can try that have been shown to minimize the problem, including cutting out alcohol, losing weight, and avoiding sleeping on your back by sewing a tennis ball or other three dimensional item into the back of your pajama top. When these simple home remedy approaches fail, doctors may offer alternatives including surgical procedures that open up the airway or appliances that force your jaw or tongue into proper position.
Another physical problem that can be extremely disruptive to a good night’s sleep is medically known as nocturia, which means waking up frequently in order to urinate. Though it is normal for people to need to get up once per night, particularly if you drink a lot of liquids in the evening, waking up more than a few times can be a sign of a problem, and definitely impacts the quality of your sleep. Though it may be easily solved by changing medications, restricting alcohol or cutting down on liquids in general, it can also be a sign of diabetes, an enlarged prostate or a urinary tract infection. If the problem becomes chronic a visit to your doctor is in order.
Heartburn is often the cause of sleepless nights. Heartburn is an uncomfortable sensation that feels as though it is happening in the heart, but is actually in the esophagus. It occurs when the contents of the stomach back up and cause a burning sensation due to the high acid content. Heartburn can be experienced in a number of ways, including a cough that is often thought to be a post-nasal drip. It is most often experienced when we are in a prone position, and that is why it so frequently disrupts sleep. Many people are able to alleviate heartburn symptoms by limiting alcohol or spicy foods, or losing weight, while others have found that elevating one end of the bed is a simple and effective fix.
If you are experiencing sleeplessness for a period of just a few days, then over-the-counter sleep aids may be all the help that you need. Most contain the same ingredient as allergy medications, and may cause some uncomfortable side effects; it is important to use caution when taking them and not to take them during the day. It is also important to remember that these drugs can stay in your system beyond your sleeping hours, so exercise caution when driving or operating heavy machinery after taking them. If over-the-counter sleep aids don’t help within a day or two, it’s a good idea to discontinue their use. A similar but opposite note of caution is required for prescription sleeping bills. Many people become dependent upon them for sleep, and discontinuing them after a period of time may result in rebound insomnia. Work with your physician to come up with a gradual schedule for weaning yourself from the pills.
Finally, one of the most uncomfortable causes of sleep problems is restless legs syndrome, a medical condition that makes people fidgety and unable to move as the evening progresses. The feeling largely impacts the legs, and is often accompanied by actual jerking movements that can occur hundreds of times over the course of the night. Though many sufferers are not aware of being woken, it still disrupts rest and result in drowsiness during waking hours. Over the counter medications such as anti-inflammatories or prescription sleeping pills may offer relief, and some have found warm baths or massage helpful, but there is no treatment method that has been shown to be completely effective.