Do you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep nearly every night? If so, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder. Although most sleep problems stem from neurological disturbances, some result from conditions that are easier to correct. The only way to know for sure is to have a doctor review your symptoms and run some diagnostic tests. Here are four problems that your sleep doctors will check for during the diagnostic process.
With sleep apnea affecting your body, you might choke and wake up several times throughout the night. You may not even realize you're waking so much when the small disturbances just pull you out of deep sleep patterns.
You could even feel like you're sleeping all night, but wake up completely exhausted every morning. As a result, you may need to nap halfway through the day to make it through the evening hours. If this happens, your sleep difficulties could worsen, which often leads to full blown insomnia.
Your doctor will ask if you frequently snore loudly, choke or gasp for breath while sleeping. If the answer is yes to any of these situations, you'll need to have a sleep study performed to diagnose sleep apnea. Once you have a diagnosis, your doctor will fit you with a CPAP mask and machine to treat this nagging condition.
Disrupted Internal Clock
If you worked nights for a long time, or travel long distances frequently, your internal clock could lag behind. Your body relies on natural circadian rhythms to know when to sleep and when to wake up. Working late into the night on your computer or watching TV shows before bed could also disrupt your natural sleep signals.
To restore your healthy clock rhythms, assign a strict bedtime and take natural supplements, like melatonin, to fall asleep fast. Also, consider putting away all electronic devices and sources of artificial light at least two hours before your planned bedtime.
A simple vitamin deficiency can wreak havoc on your body's equilibrium. Your body uses a precise balance of vitamins and minerals to run your complex brain and organ functions. Deficiencies throw off that balance and cause all sorts of annoying symptoms.
Magnesium, in particular, will cause intense anxiety and sleep issues when its levels fall far below the required amounts. As your anxiety worsens, sleep problems tend to increase as well. If you suspect a magnesium deficiency is making it hard to sleep, have your doctor perform a simple blood test to check for imbalances.
If you're low on vitamins or minerals, you may need to take supplements and change your diet to cope. Eat several servings of magnesium-rich foods, like leafy greens and nuts, each day to restore your levels to normal.
Sleeping Medication Rebound
If you've been silently coping with sleep problems, you might rely on over the counter nighttime medications that make you drowsy to get by. Unfortunately, using sleeping medications for an extended period of time can cause rebound insomnia.
Halting the medications outright can actually worsen the insomnia symptoms, so make sure to taper off with help from your doctor. Try natural sleep aids, like melatonin and valerian root, to fall asleep quickly without the side effects caused by synthetic medications.
Do not suffer with sleep problems on your own for more than a week. Talk with your doctor or sleep professionals such as http://www.billingsclinic.com to have some tests done and figure out the cause of your inability to rest. If you go a long time without sleeping normally, health problems could arise and complicate your ability to rest considerably. Attend sleep studies, have blood work performed and try natural therapies to leave sleep disturbances in the past.