ABCs of ZZZZs -- When you Can't Sleep

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and persons suffering from acute stress, depression, or chronic pain. And employees working long hours or multiple jobs may find their sleep less refreshing.

Older adults also have frequent difficulty with sleep problems, but inadequate sleep is not an inevitable part of the aging process. The total amount of sleep needed isn’t reduced. However, many of the sleep stealers can combine in the elderly including impaired health, pain and increased use of medications.

Teenagers can have difficulty falling asleep until late at night and awakening early in the morning.

Many young adults keep relatively irregular hours and as a group they report higher rates of dissatisfaction with the sleep they are getting.

Being overweight increases the risk for sleep apnea.

What are the biggest "Sleep Stealers"?


Psychological Factors

Stress is considered by most sleep experts to be the No. 1 cause of short-term sleeping difficulties. Common triggers include school- or job-related pressures, a family or marriage problem, and a serious illness or death in the family. Usually the sleep problem disappears when the stressful situation passes. However, if shortterm sleep problems such as insomnia aren’t managed properly from the beginning, they can persist long after the original stress has passed.

That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to a physician about any sleeping problem that recurs or persists for longer than one week.

Your doctor can help you take steps early to control or prevent poor sleep. Since insomnia can also be brought on by depression, evaluation by a healthcare professional is essential.

Lifestyle Stressors

Without realizing it, you may be doing things during the day or night that can work against getting a good night’s sleep. These include drinking alcohol or beverages containing caffeine in the afternoon or evening, exercising close to bedtime, following an irregular morning and nighttime schedule, and working or doing other mentally intense activities right before or after getting into bed.

Shift Work

If you are among the 17 percent of employees in the United States who are shift workers, sleep may be particularly elusive. Shift work forces you to try to sleep