Why Am I Having Sleep Disturbances?

Waking frequently throughout the night, not falling asleep, and not being able to stay asleep until the morning are all hallmark signs of insomnia and poor sleep quality. Poor sleep quality can lead to a host of health issues, such as excessive daytime fatigue and sleepiness, weight gain, and much more. Battling insomnia and poor sleep quality can seem like a difficult battle; however, there are ways you can improve your sleep. Keep reading for reasons you may have sleep disturbances and what you can start doing about it tonight for a better, more refreshed tomorrow.

Facts About Sleep Disturbances

So many things have changed in the past century, including how much people are working and the stress that has been placed on our lives due to economic issues and other societal issues. It can be seen in many aspects of our daily life, including sleep patterns.

Why Am I Having Sleep Disturbances?
Why Am I Having Sleep Disturbances?

Statistics about insufficient sleep include:

  • Adults between 18 and 64 need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Adults over 65 need 7-8 hours.
  • 35.2% of all adults in the U.S.report sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night.
  • Almost half of all Americans say they feel sleepy during the day between three and seven days per week.
  • Of major cities in the United States, Boulder, Colorado has the lowest percentage of adults who sleep less than seven hours per night, coming in at 24.2%. Camden, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan tied for the highest rate, with 49.8% of adults in those cities reporting short sleep.
  • 42.6% of single parents sleep less than seven hours per night compared to 32.7% of adults in two-parent homes and 31% of adults with no children.
  • 32.6% of working adults reported sleeping six or fewer hours per night in 2017-2018, up from 28.4% in 2008-2009.
  • More than 44% of workers in production-focused industries, such as factory workers and plant operators, report getting seven hours of sleep or less per night.

Stress-Induced Sleep Disturbance

It is normal to experience a sleepless night before an important event or a big day. Your wedding day, a big presentation, a performance, anticipation about something, and excitement can keep you up at night. This is normal, and is usually temporary, and goes away once the event has passed. However, when it is becoming a daily occurrence, you are experiencing stress-induced sleep disturbance.

Everybody who experiences stress will manifest it differently. For many, the hyperarousal and adrenaline that stress produces will be enough to keep them up, night after night. Unless the source of stress is pinpointed and worked through with treatment or therapy, the cycle of anxiety and insomnia worsens and worsens. Poor sleep quality will cause more stress, which will compound the existing stress. The additional stress makes insomnia worse, causing even more stress, and the cycle continues.

Unhealthy Sleep Habits

For many people, a simple lifestyle change can help them sleep better at night. Practicing healthy sleep habits every night can train the body to sleep at certain times under certain conditions.

A few healthy sleep habits include:

  • Limiting brain stimulation late at night. People who work late or use electronics too close to bedtime will have a more difficult time falling asleep. Engaging in relaxing activities in the hour or two before bed, such as taking a shower or listening to soft music, will help relax the brain.
  • Committing to a specific bedtime and a wake time. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning will help your body’s internal clock. Staying up too late or sleeping in too late can throw off this schedule, causing insomnia.
  • Limiting caffeine or alcohol. Both of these beverages can cause sleep disturbances, making it essential to restrict these while you work to overcome your insomnia.

Mental Health Disorders

A side effect of many mental health disorders is insomnia. It is estimated that 40% of people with insomnia have a mental health disorder. Depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, bipolar disorder, and many other mental health disorders can cause negative thoughts that keep you up at night and can trigger the body’s hyperarousal stress response.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder in which breathing is affected. The individual breathes through the mouth rather than the nose due to an obstruction. This can cause intense snoring and unnatural breathing patterns. As a result, there is not enough oxygen being absorbed into the body, and this causes a host of health-related issues.

Statistics regarding sleep apnea, according to The Sleep Foundation, include:

  • As many as 15-30% of males and 10-30% of females meet a broad definition of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
  • Using a more limited definition of OSA, the condition affects 2-9% of adults in the U.S.
  • A 10% increase in body weight can equate to a six-fold rise in the risk for OSA.
  • About .9% of adults over 40 years old experience central sleep apnea (CSA).

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Most people who suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea have no idea that they are suffering from it. Unless you have a partner or roommate who alerts you to your loud snoring, it can be challenging to diagnose.

Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent headaches
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Loud, deep snoring
  • Napping during the day
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sore throat
  • Stop breathing or gasping for air during sleep
  • Weight gain

There are three types of Sleep Apnea. These include:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the airway has been blocked, such as from tissue relaxing in the back of the throat.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea: When central sleep apnea (CSA) is present, the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles responsible for breathing.
  3. Mixed Sleep Apnea: Mixed or complex, sleep apnea involves a combination of both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

The best form of treatment will vary based on which type of sleep apnea has developed. To learn about the next steps for addressing your condition, you will first need to schedule a sleep study to receive a diagnosis, after which you can discuss your treatment options with Dr. Gorman at our clinic.

Untreated Sleep Apnea can cause:

  • Loud Snoring
  • Snorting or Gasping for Air
  • Frequent Nighttime Urination
  • Morning Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Memory Loss
  • Lack of Energy
  • Drowsy Driving
  • Excessive Stress
  • Cardiovascular Strain
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Increased Risk for Accidents
  • Weight Gain
  • Depression
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke

Risk factors for Sleep Apnea include:

  • A family history of sleep apnea and/or snoring
  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Large tonsils
  • A thick neck
  • A small lower jaw
  • Narrow airways
  • Alcohol consumption before bed
  • Frequent nasal congestion
  • Post-menopause
  • Low thyroid levels

What to Do About Your Sleep Disturbances

If you are desperate for a better night’s sleep and for the best chances possible to avoid health issues, there are things you can start doing today to treat your sleep disturbances. These include pinpointing stress, practicing self-care, practicing healthy sleep habits, getting treatment for underlying mental health conditions, and treating your sleep apnea.

Pinpointing stress and practicing self-care

Finding the source of your stress and working to lower your stress levels can help your sleep disturbances.

Practicing healthy sleep habits

Setting a time to go to bed and wake up, limiting caffeine and alcohol, limiting electronics, and engaging in relaxing activities right before bed can help train your body for better sleep.

Get treatment for your underlying mental health conditions

If you are suffering from insomnia due to your mental health disorder, speak with your doctor about new treatment methods for your condition. Let your doctor or therapist know that your insomnia has worsened. Insufficient sleep can worsen mental health conditions, and stopping the cycle starts with mental health treatment.

Seek Treatment for Sleep Apnea

If you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms or have one of the risk factors for sleep apnea, you can get treatment for better sleep and better health. When sleep apnea is addressed with the proper treatment, risks associated with the condition are significantly reduced. At Gorman Health and Wellness, we are experts in helping our patients get better sleep and relief from sleep apnea.

The process for treating sleep apnea includes:

  • After the patient has received a sleep apnea diagnosis, Dr. Gorman will talk with them about their symptoms, review their medical history, and perform a scan utilizing state-of-the-art dental technology to evaluate possible obstructions.
  • Once he is familiar with the details of their condition, Dr. Gorman will create a personalized treatment plan with the goal of improving their nighttime breathing.
  • This often involves the use of a custom-fitted dental appliance the patient will wear while sleeping.
  • If the patient’s sleep apnea is caused by the tongue relaxing in the throat, a tongue-retaining device may be the ideal treatment for maintaining an open airway.
  • Should an abnormal jaw position cause breathing difficulties, Dr. Gorman may recommend a particular device to correct this alignment, such as a mouthpiece or a device strapped around the head.
  • Oral devices used to address sleep apnea are removable and typically resemble athletic mouth guards.

About Gorman Health and Wellness

If you have insomnia and any sleep apnea symptoms, you do not have to suffer any longer. Sleep disturbances and insufficient sleep do not have to be part of your life anymore. Improve your quality of life and give yourself the best chances of fighting preventable health conditions by addressing your sleep apnea today.

Dr. Gorman is a part of the breathing wellness movement, aiming to increase awareness and improve treatment for sleep-related airway conditions like sleep apnea. To manage sleep apnea, he has partnered with organizations focused on collaborating with dentists to apply the sciences of:

  • Craniofacial Epigenetics (the study of cranial modifications caused by gene expression as opposed to genetic code alteration)
  • Pneumopedics® (the practical application of oral appliance therapy and non-surgical airway remodeling)

Together, applying these sciences allows for underlying causes of airway obstruction to be treated in 98% of cases, resulting in a high success rate among sleep apnea patients. For every sleep apnea case at our practice, Dr. Gorman will gather patient data and determine the patient’s specific needs based on home sleep test results, dental impressions, CT scans, and images. Our state-of-the-art technology, paired with Dr. Gorman’s experience with sleep disorders, allows him to find the most effective treatment plan for each individual’s particular case, yielding improved daytime and nighttime breathing for the patient.

“I have been helping people suffering from Sleep Apnea with a non-invasive, clinically approved treatment method. This method has allowed my patients to sleep with far fewer events per hour, allowing them to get rid of their CPAP and BiPAP machines. Imagine not having to use one of those machines, getting back a much greater quality of life along with the benefits of being able to breathe better.” – Dr. Gorman.

Contact us today for more information on Dr. Gorman, improving your sleep apnea, and creating a better quality of life.

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