If you can't sleep at night, you're one of the 70 million adults in the U.S. who have difficulty sleeping, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cause of your sleep disorder may not be obvious and could even be a symptom of another illness that you haven't noticed. If you are consistently losing sleep each night, it's time to talk with your family doctor to determine if you might be facing one of the following health problems.
Is Your Sleep Problem Acute or Chronic?
Most people experience stressful times in their lives, and sometimes sleep is affected. A move across country or the anticipation of a promotion at work can cause you to toss and turn at night and not feel rested in the morning. When these situations are resolved, your sleep returns to normal. This is an acute sleep disorder, and it will go away as the stress in your life diminishes.
If you have sleepless nights for weeks and months at a time, this is a chronic problem and points to a possible physical issue that will not go away on its own. Your doctor can help pinpoint the problem and offer you treatment options that will help you get to sleep.
Physical Issues That Cause You to Stay Awake
Some of the common diseases that may affect your sleep include:
- heart disease
- lung disease
- thyroid disease
At an early stage, these illnesses can make your body uncomfortable enough that you toss and turn at night, but the overall disease won't be obvious. For example, early arthritis symptoms include stiff joints that ache just enough to keep you from sleeping. Thyroid disease may make you feel alert and anxious while you're trying to relax enough to go to sleep.
Chemical Issues That Keep You Awake
There are also a number of chemicals and medications that can affect your sleep patterns such as:
- steroids - These are given for allergies, asthma, arthritis and other medical issues that cause inflammation of soft tissues.
- statins - These are given to treat high cholesterol levels that increase your risk of a heart disease.
- alpha blockers - These are common medications to treat high blood pressure.
- beta blockers - These are used to treat heart disease.
- caffeine - This is a stimulant and you likely already know that drinking coffee late at night can keep you awake. But some over-the-counter pain and cold medications also contain caffeine.
If a health or medication problem is causing you to lose sleep, the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you'll get a good night's rest. Get a checkup with your doctor and stop those restless nights fighting to get to sleep. For more information, contact Green & Seidner Family Practice or a similar location.