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National Sleep Week


Have you tried ‘everything’ and still can’t sleep?

One of the first (and hardest steps) of treating a sleep problem is recognizing that all those sleepless nights may by signs of a treatable sleep disorder. Many people ignore the symptoms of a sleep problem … willing themselves to get more sleep each night and waking up tired every morning. We tell ourselves to “get more sleep” but often, this is easier said than done.

To overcome your sleep problem once and for all, you need to get to the root of the problem. If you don’t treat the root cause, you won’t sleep any better. Here is a quick “cheat sheet” of common sleep disorders to get you started on identifying you particular sleep problem. One of the most helpful things is to talk to a professional about your sleep issues.

In honor of National Sleep Week, I am offering free sleep screenings on Friday, March 13. Click here to learn more or to sign up for a 10 minute screening (sign up using the box on the right)

Here are some of the reasons you may not be sleeping well:

Insomnia: A very common sleep problem marked by sleepless nights. You wake up feeling tired or fatigued. You end up being feeling tired or irritable during the day.

Sleep Apnea: The most common of the three types of sleep apnea is “obstructive sleep apnea,” which occurs when enough air isn’t able to get through your mouth/nose and into the lungs.

Because the air isn’t getting through, you start breathing shallowly or stop breathing completely,– at least for a few seconds. You may snort, cough, or snore as your body tries to restart the breathing process.

You do get back to sleep – but because of all of the snoring and coughing, you are not getting quality, uninterrupted sleep. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but it is a symptom.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): Do you legs burn, itch or tingle at night? If so, you may suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome. Moving your legs makes them feel better, but the movement causes a low-quality restless sleep.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD): PLMD is similar to Restless Leg Syndrome. Unlike RLS, the leg twiching and movement is involuntary.

The legs are usually affected by PLMD, but sometimes your arms move too. You may not even be aware that you are moving. The movement causes restless sleep.

This usually takes place in the legs, but for some, the arms are also affected. These movements – though you may be unaware of them – lead to a restless sleep. You wake up tired and fatigued because you didn’t sleep well.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS): Do you often feel like you were born to live in a different time zone? If you’re suffering from DSPS, it seems as if your circadian rhythm (an internal 24-hour cycle) is off by half a day, and you’re unable to sleep during nighttime hours. Because you aren’t on the same sleep schedule as your friends and family, DSPS can seriously affect your quality of life.

Narcolepsy: A dangerous disorder defined by excessive sleepiness during the daytime, as well as periods when the body’s muscles are weakened into a state of cataplexy. You’re at risk when you’re doing everyday tasks, like driving a car from Point A to Point B, since a narcoleptic attack could occur at any time.

These are a few of the causes of chronic sleep problems. There are many others ranging from hormonal issues, to poor sleep environments, snoring, seasonal affective disorder, sleepwalking, racing thoughts and more. Any of these issues can lead to sleep deprivation and take a physical, mental or emotional tool on your life.

If you are having trouble sleeping, take me up on my offer for a free sleep screening this Friday.  The sign up box is to the right on this website.