Saturday, October 30, 2010

Secret Sleep Stealers

There are many reasons why you may not be able to fall asleep such as menopausal symptoms, heart racing, anxiety, stress and/or physical pain. There may be other silent mental or physical sleep stealers that may hinder your sleep. One of the secret sleep stealers could be an over-active thyroid or hyperthyroidism which can cause you to have too much energy at night. Did you know that you can develop thyroiditis following the delivery of a baby? 5 to 10 percent of women in their 20’s and 30’s will experience thyroiditis along with postpartum depression. After a couple months the condition will reverse into hypothyroidism which is a lack of thyroid hormone that will slow your body functions and leave you constantly tired. If you are too agitated to sleep or find yourself suffering from extreme fatigue postpartum you should see your doctor.

[caption id="attachment_516" align="alignright" width="299" caption="Secret Sleep Stealers - Postpartum Depression - Anxiety"][/caption]

If your doctor prescribes anti-depressants for your depression make note that some medications may cause sleep related side effects. Treating insomnia and depression can be counter-productive and many times an alternative approach is necessary. Some physicians recommend cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling to alleviate depression or adjusting medications that aim to help both insomnia and depression like trazodone. Trazodone will interfere with other prescription drugs and supplements like St. Johns Wort. Trazodone can cause many side effects in which some will never go away or are very serious and require immediate medical attention. Be sure to consult with your doctor and list all drugs and supplements including over-the-counter medications. Review all side effects before considering this drug. Serious side effects include; chest pain, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, skin rash, difficulty breathing, swelling, numbness, dizziness, fainting and a painful erection that lasts longer than normal.

When you turn 40 you may wake up during the night to go to the bathroom more often which may be a sign of a UTI. A UTI or urinary tract infection is caused by a decrease in estrogen levels that leads to thinning of the lining of the vagina and bladder which make women more prone to this disease. Women in their 40’s are usually sexually active which can also lead to more UTIs. Another secret sleep stealer is losing the ability to sleep deeply as we age, making waking from nightmares more frequent. Exercise may help, especially weight training because when you work out you break down your muscles and tissues which require deep sleep to repair. When you give your body a good work out it will naturally increase your deep sleep.

Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and on medications to treat these medical issues? Are you taking a diuretic to treat hypertension? Ask your doctor if it is OK to take your pills in the morning instead of late at night when they might hinder your ability to sleep.  Statins that control cholesterol can deplete your body's muscles of co-enzyme Q-10, a natural protein that is required for normal muscle cell functioning, as a result many suffer from muscle aches like restless leg syndrome that interfere with not only falling sleep, but staying asleep as well. Many benefit from taking the supplement CO-Q10.

My father has to take a diuretic ever since he had triple-bypass surgery and in order for him to sleep during the night without continually getting up to go to the bathroom he takes his medication as late as possible or he sleeps in shifts, which is common with a lot of the elderly and toddlers.  Sleeping five hours during the night and 2 to 3 hours during the day is known as a biphasic sleep pattern.

[caption id="attachment_513" align="alignright" width="266" caption="Secret Sleep Stealers - Snoring - Obstructive Sleep Apnea"][/caption]

Do you snore?  Is it only occasionally or is it chronic (every night)? Snoring not only depletes your quality of sleep it impairs your partners ability to fall a sleep easy.  Heavy snoring may be related to the sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which causes the individual to stop breathing for a period of time (30 seconds) sporadically during the night. If OSA is not controlled it may worsen causing additional health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or even a stroke. One note: women are more prone to OSA after menopause when their progesterone levels decrease.  Taking prescribed progesterone can help muscles in the upper airways stay open.

Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication. Medications like progesterone may cause abnormal blood clotting. This may cut off the blood supply to the brain, heart, lungs, or eyes and cause serious problems. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. OSA is also caused if someone is overweight, as there is more pressure on the neck with the added weight. Just losing 10 pounds can alleviate the pressure and in most cases cure the OSA.

The content provided in Secret Sleep Stealers is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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