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Sleep Problems & Disorders

When Is it Time for a Sleep Aid?

Too many nights lying wide awake might make you wonder about medication. Here what you should know. Even after taking steps to improve the quality of your sleep—such as sticking with a regular bedtime, cutting back on caffeine, and exercising regularly—some people still struggle to get the amount of sleep they need. It’s a cycle that causes frustration as well as exhaustion. So now what? If you are one of the millions of people who struggle to fall asleep every night, you may wonder if taking medication could help you sleep better or longer. It’s a natural question and it doesn’t have an easy answer, especially since there are many different kinds of sleep aids…

Surprising Summer Sleep Challenges—and How to Deal

The best parts about June, July, and August may also be the worst for quality shut-eye. Learn how to protect yourself from bright skies, warm temps, and other sneaky sleep saboteurs. Few things are more aggravating than lying awake in a hot bedroom covered in sweat. Beyond the annoying inconvenience of having to get up and change your shirt (or take a cold shower), this kind of summer sleep disruption can leave you feeling tired and lethargic the next day. But heat and humidity aren’t the only sleep challenges that arrive in the summer: Longer daylight hours can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm, noisy neighbors can jar you awake, and flying insects can…

How to Handle Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

That twitchy, itchy feeling in your legs could come from several surprising culprits. Learn how to control this uncomfortable sensation that’s keeping you up at night. Pregnancy can be full of joyful moments, but the sleep challenges expectant moms face in the third trimester are anything but pleasant. During the last few months before childbirth, nighttime disruptions can include frequent urination, kicking from the baby, and heartburn. But perhaps the most annoying, uncomfortable sensation comes from restless leg syndrome, an uncontrollable, twitchy feeling in the lower limbs that forces sufferers to get up and move (or else lie there in spasm). Restless leg syndrome affects plenty of expectant mothers as well: Up to 15 percent…

Is It Sleepiness or Narcolepsy?

Even if you have the best intentions to stick to a healthy sleep schedule, can’t-keep-your-eyes open exhaustion happens. Excessive sleepiness is most likely to occur when you don’t get enough sleep at night. Even losing just 30 minutes can lead to grogginess.If you’re getting enough sleep but still feel tired during the day, a disorder like sleep apnea may be to blame. But if you have trouble participating in normal activities—whether that means hanging out with friends or eating a meal—without nodding off, it’s possible that narcolepsy is at the root of the problem. Narcolepsy is more than just feeling ultra tired. It’s actually a chronic brain disorder. People with narcolepsy have poorly…

Helping Veterans Sleep

Sleep loss is a widespread problem, and military veterans are particularly susceptible. Vets are four times as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In addition, those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury have a higher incidence of OSA, meaning that psychiatric and sleep disorders are often linked. Research-based sleep techniques are being developed for those with PTSD, so it’s important to seek specialized help. Warning signs of sleep trouble: Sleep troubles can look different depending on the person, but it’s important to seek help if you have warning signs such as, Mood symptoms like lack of motivation, depression or anxiety that interfere in work or daily life. Lack of…

Sleep Problems That Keep Kids Up at Night

Any parent knows that a child’s bedtime troubles don’t end after he moves out of the crib. Kids of all ages can have trouble sleeping through the night for a variety of reasons—some of which may surprise you. Identifying the root cause of your little one’s sleep issues can help the whole family get better rest. To help you get started, read on for five reasons why kids may lie awake at night. Wetting the Bed Middle-of-the-night accidents are fairly common (15 percent of children will wet the bed by age five). They can be caused by genetics, a small bladder, constipation, sleeping very deeply, and, in rare cases, an underlying medical condition. While accidents…

Alzheimer’s And Sleep

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia, which affects 5.3 million people) can be scary and confusing—for the person affected, as well as family members and friends. Learn how the disease can affect someone’s sleep, so you know what to expect and how you can help. If you’re a caregiver, try to help the patient understand the following. Nighttime Awakenings Are Common. Dementia often causes a change in sleep patterns. In fact, as many as 50 percent of those who have mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s experience insomnia or increased napping. It’s still unclear exactly how sleep troubles and Alzheimer’s are linked—less sleep may lead to Alzheimer’s or maybe Alzheimer’s causes the sleep…

What is Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder?

Everyone has trouble falling asleep once in a while. But for some extreme night owls, going to bed at a normal time—and waking up when they need to for school or work—is a challenge every night. Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), also called delayed sleep phase syndrome or delayed sleep phase type, is just that: not being able to fall asleep within at least two hours of when you want to. People with DSPD generally don’t have trouble getting good quality sleep once they do drift off. But staying up late often means not having time to log enough sleep before morning. Not surprisingly, daytime sleepiness can be a common problem, but that’s…

What Is REM Behavior Disorder?

If you suffer from this rare sleep disorder, having a scary dream can lead to a dangerous situation. You may take for granted the fact that, no matter how scary a dream may get, in the real world you are actually just sleeping safely in your bed. But that isn’t the case if you have a sleep disorder known as REM behavior disorder (RBD). People who suffer from RBD physically move their bodies while dreaming—and sometimes they even get out of bed and react to what is happening in their dreams. Dreaming happens during only the REM stage of sleep, a phase of sleep that happens a few times a night. During…

What Are Some Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders?

Discover whether one of these five sleep disorders is keeping you from your best night’s rest. If you have a hard time falling asleep and waking up when you need to, you might have what’s known as a circadian rhythm sleep disorder. Typically, your body clock regulates a regular daily rhythm of temperature and hormone levels that—combined with other factors like light exposure, meals, and exercise—tells you when it’s time to sleep at night and be awake during the day. Sometimes, however, the rhythms get off course, resulting in poor sleep and daytime drowsiness. There are a variety of these disorders—and if one sounds like it might be what you have, talk to your…