Weekly Wellness: Why am I waking up all night?
COLUMBIA- Sleep is a topic I revisit often because it is so important. I know, personally, if I don’t get enough sleep it is detrimental to my entire day. I am someone who recognizes that I need 7 hours of sleep at a minimum and if I don’t get it, look out!
There are a number of health issues that are impacted by sleep (or lack of it). Sleep is when your body heals and repairs itself – your heart and blood vessels, specifically. Because of this, ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
If you are having a difficult time getting to sleep or staying asleep, one of these might be the culprit:
- Your room is too hot, too cold, too noisy, too bright. Did you know that seeping occurs in stages? It’s true. There are stages 1, 2, 3 and 4. The lightest sleep stage is 1 – so if you have a difficult time getting to sleep in stage 1, you’re probably most affected by factors like noises, temperature and lights. The best sleeping conditions are a dark, cool, quiet room.
- You have anxiety. Trouble sleeping is one of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Did you know that? And there is also a terrifying-sounding thing called a nocturnal panic attack (which I hope to never experience).
- Your bladder can’t wait until morning. Have you heard of nocturia? 23% of women and 29% of men surveyed have it. This condition is defined as having to get up at least once each night to pee. There are a number of potential causes – drinking too late in the day, urinary tract infections, untreated diabetes, etc. If you think you may be experiencing this due to an uncontrolled reason (like drinking too much too late), consult your physician.
- You drank some booze. Alcohol can mess with our sleep stages and cause fitful sleep. It is recommended to stop imbibing three hours before your usual bedtime.
- You may have sleep apnea. If you are forced awake by feelings of not being able to breathe, sleep apnea may be to blame. With obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the throat relax too much which causes a narrowed airway which causes your oxygen levels to drop. If you think you may have sleep apnea, consult your physician.
- You may have an overactive thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism has a list of common symptoms including increased heart rate, sweating (at night), anxiety, tremors and… trouble sleeping. There are treatments. If you suspect you might have hyperthyroidism, consult your physician.
- You ate too late or not enough. Eating. You have to time it perfectly! If you eat too late, insomnia can occur due to acid reflux or heartburn. Eat too early? You could experience a crampy, hungry tummy and a blood sugar issue.
- You may have restless leg syndrome. Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a condition where your lower extremities can ache, throb, itch, etc. It creates this uncontrollable need to move your legs – at night. It can wreak havoc on your sleep. If you are experiencing these symptoms, consult your physician.