Understanding Sleep Disorders and How to Get Better Rest
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our lives. It can impact everything from an individual’s health to their productivity throughout the day. It is crucial that people get the right amount of sleep each night; click here to see how much sleep the National Sleep Foundation recommends.
Unfortunately, many people regularly experience more than just a restless night. There are many types of sleep problems and health issues that can arise from a lack of sleep. Fortunately, there are ways to improve yours, even through the use of acupuncture; keep reading to learn more about these common problems and helpful solutions.
Common Sleep Disorders
This may shock some people, but The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine notes, “There are over 100 different types of sleep disorders ranging from difficulty sleeping at night to problems with excessive daytime sleepiness. Therefore, it is critical to receive the correct diagnosis and work with a qualified physician to develop a treatment plan.”
According to Stanford, some of the most common sleep disorders include:
Sleep Related Breathing Disorders (Sleep Apnea)
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Centeral Sleep Apnea (CSA)
Shift Work & Circadian Rhythm Disorders
Restless Legs Syndrome / Periodic Limb Movements During Sleep
Narcolepsy, Kleine Levine Syndrome & Other Hypersomnias (Excessive Sleepiness)
Nighttime Sleep Behaviors
Top Signs of Sleep Disorders
While it is common to have a hard time falling asleep or a restless night when things are on your mind, consistent trouble sleeping may mean you have a sleep disorder.
Here are five signs to watch out for from Valley Sleep Center:
1. Waking Up Tired
If you went to bed at your normal time and wake up after eight or so hours, and it feels like you hardly slept, you could have a sleep disorder. “Sleep disorders like sleep apnea can impact the quality and quantity of sleep you are getting without you noticing.”
2. Trouble Falling Asleep
You could be suffering from insomnia if you simply cannot fall asleep and end up tossing and turning all night. “Insomnia is both a sleep disorder in its own right and a common symptom of other sleep disorders. Don’t think that because it is just insomnia that you don’t need to discuss it with your doctor. There may be some other condition contributing to your inability to sleep.”
Snoring is a red flag when it comes to sleep apnea, though not every who snores has the disorder. It is important to note however, “The dangers of untreated sleep apnea are significant enough that anyone who snores should speak to their doctor about their sleep habits and make sure they do not have sleep apnea.”
4. Trouble Staying Awake During the Day
You should see a doctor if you have trouble staying awake throughout the day as it can be a sign of many sleep disorders including sleep apnea or narcolepsy.
5. Trouble Focusing, Concentrating or Paying Attention
Sleep is so important to our ability to function cognitively. When we don’t have enough quality and quantity of sleep, we can have trouble concentrating on school work, our jobs and life.
A Lack of Sleep and Your Health
While losing a few hours of sleep every now and then or not having a good night’s sleep may not seem like a big deal, consistent sleep deprivation can do a lot of harm to the body. Here are a few of the ways poor sleep can have a negative impact on your life from Health Line:
1. Memory Issues
When you sleep, the brain forms connections to help process and retain new information. When you are experiencing a lack of sleep, it can have a negative impact on both the short and long-term memory.
2. Mood Changes
Have you even woken up on the wrong side of the bed? That could be because your mood is influenced by sleep. Chronic sleep problems can lead to anxiety and depression, which can get worse over time.
3. Weak Immune System
You’re more likely to get sick when you’re exposed to germs because too little sleep weakens the immune system.
4. Increased Diabetes Risk
Health Line notes, “A Lack of sleep affects your body’s release of insulin, a blood sugar-lowering hormone. People who don’t get enough sleep have higher blood sugar levels and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.”
5. Weight Gain
The website also mentions, “With sleep deprivation, the chemicals that signal to your brain that you are full are off balance. As a result, you’re more likely to overindulge even when you’ve had enough to eat.”
Don’t forget that stress can also cause insomnia and weight gain; watch for a correlation between the two.
Try to Get a Good Night Sleep Naturally
Now that you’re aware of the different sleep disorders and how they can negatively impact your health, it’s time to learn how to improve your sleep.
How to Sleep Better
Getting a good night’s sleep is so important! Here are a couple of natural ways to improve your sleep from Prevention, which spoke to different health experts on the matter.
1. Stick to a Schedule
Prevention recommends you, “Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady, so you rest better. Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or going outside right after you wake up.”
2. Reduce Caffeine
If you’re hitting the afternoon wall, you may be tempted to reach for another cup of coffee to add a little jolt of energy, but put that coffee down. Actually, it is recommended that anything with caffeine (including tea and cola) not be consumed after 2 p.m. “Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 8 hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it'll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether.
Acupuncture for Sleep Issues
One of the many benefits of acupuncture is that it addresses insomnia and sleep disorders. A report by The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences found patients who experienced anxiety and used acupuncture had an increased nighttime melatonin production and an increase in total sleep time. Compared to those who did not receive acupuncture, those who did fell asleep faster, moved less at night and experience less stress. At the conclusion of the study, researchers noted, “In this preliminary study acupuncture was shown to be of value as a therapeutic intervention for insomnia in anxious subjects and may therefore represent an alternative to pharmaceutical therapy for some categories of patients.”
Another report sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation noted that acupuncture makes you, “Feel more relaxed and less anxious, which may encourage you to fall asleep easier. Acupuncture has also been shown to help manage sleep apnea, perhaps because it strengthens the tongue and prevents it from dropping back during the night and blocking your airway.”
Along with directly treating insomnia, acupuncture is also helpful in addressing pain issues, which can cause a sleepless night or trouble falling asleep. If you have an acute injury, as few as 1 to 3 treatments will be needed, but as many as 6 to 8 treatments would be preferred; possibly more. Ideally patients should come in every three days, a minimum of once a week, to reduce inflammation and support healing factors. If your injury is chronic, commonly 8 to 12 treatments are needed, possibly more depending on the severity and duration of injury or even an illness. If the pain is intense, the initial visits will be every 3 to 4 days; then it will reduce to bi-weekly or more if needed.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
There is a lot of power in a good night’s sleep and the effect it has on your health cannot be overlooked. Watching out for sleep disorder symptoms and having them diagnosed is crucial to living a happy and healthy life. You can also stick to a schedule, cut caffeine and use acupuncture as methods to naturally improve your sleep and health.
Contact us today to learn how we can address insomnia and other pain and illnesses that lead to poor sleep.
About Green Lake Natural Health:
Green Lake Natural Health provides natural healing services and medicinal herb counseling to patients. The mission of Green Lake Natural Health is to provide customized care to patients to effectively treat their health concerns in a natural manner that restores harmony and healing in the body. Services include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, massage, medicinal herb counseling to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and more. Proudly serving the Seattle community since 2010.