ABCs of ZZZZs -- When you Can't Sleep
when activities around you — and your own "biological rhythms" — signal you to be awake. One study shows that shift workers are two to five times more likely than employees with regular, daytime hours to fall asleep on the job.
Still another sleep stealer is jet lag, an inability to sleep caused when you travel across several time zones and your biological rhythms get "out of sync."
A distracting sleep environment such as a room that's too hot or cold, too noisy or too brightly lit can be a barrier to sound sleep. And interruptions from children or other family members can also disrupt sleep. Other influences to pay attention to are the comfort and size of your bed and the habits of your sleep partner. If you have to lie beside someone who has different sleep preferences, snores, can't fall or stay asleep, or has other sleep difficulties, it often becomes your problem too!
A number of physical problems can interfere with your ability to fall or stay asleep. For example, arthritis and other conditions that cause pain, backache, or discomfort can make it difficult to sleep well. Sleep apnea, which is recognized by snoring and interrupted breathing, causes brief awakenings (often unnoticed) and excessive daytime sleepiness. If suspected, a person having signs of sleep apnea should see a doctor.
Disorders that cause involuntary limb movements during sleep, such as Restless Legs Syndrome, break up the normal sleep pattern and are also likely to make sleep less refreshing and result in daytime sleepiness.
For women, pregnancy and hormonal shifts including those that cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause and its accompanying hot flashes can also intrude on sleep.
In addition, certain medications such as decongestants, steroids and some medicines for high blood pressure, asthma, or depression can cause sleeping difficulties as a side effect.
So, What's The Secret To Good Sleep?
If you are having a sleep problem or feel sleepy during the day, a visit with your doctor is the best first step. Your doctor will first want to