Sleep disorders are a huge deterrent to our sleep cycles, which then in turn affect your daily life and well being. If you don’t get enough sleep through the night, at least 7 to 8 hours, your body and mind do not function well and you are sluggish through the day. “Some people suffer from what are known as sleep disorders due to factors such as unhealthy food habits, lack of exercise, and irregular and varying working styles,” said Dr Ramananda Srikantiah Nadig, Head of the Clinical Advisory Board at healthi, a digital preventive health guide that conveniently provides access to the healthcare practitioners and raises awareness about the prevention and management of lifestyle diseases.
“However, sleep disorders may also be due to some underlying health condition – from asthma to depression and menopause.” Here are some common diseases that may lead to sleep disorders.
“People who do not manage diabetes adequately can experience issues such as night sweats, frequent urination, and pain in the nerve endings,” said Dr Nadig. “All these can disturb sleep and lead to daytime grogginess. The reverse is also true. People with insomnia are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes when combined with other factors such as work-related stress and irregular eating habits.”
“Women in the menopausal stage are highly prone to insomnia. The reason for this is a drop in the level of the hormone progesterone, which promotes sleep,” shares Dr Nadig. “Menopause also causes a fluctuation in estrogen levels further leading to hot flashes, sudden waves of intense body heat, and sweating, all of which can disturb sleep.”
People with musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia often find it difficult to fall asleep due to the associated pain. “Arthritis patients may need to constantly change their sleeping positions which can cause stiffness in the morning,” advises Dr Nadig. “Pain in the ligaments and tendons in those with fibromyalgia is a major reason for sleep disturbances and can lead to fatigue on the next day.”
One of the most common heart problems associated with a lack of sleep are coronary artery disease (CAD) and congestive heart failure. “CAD leads to fluctuations in circadian rhythms, chest pain, irregular heartbeat,” informs Dr Nadig. “ In congestive heart failure, the heart does not pump enough blood to all parts of the body leading to accumulation of extra fluid around the lungs while a person lies down. This can cause restlessness and lead to lack of sleep.”
“People with nocturia experience frequent nighttime urination. It is one of the most common causes of sleep disorders in people,” shares Dr Nadig. “A person with severe nocturia may wake up as many as to 7-8 times at night. It is important to find out the underlying cause for this condition as it can help in improving the quality of sleep.”
Mental health issues
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are major causes of sleeping problems. “About 90% of those with depression have troubled sleep and may even wake up early,” said Dr Nadig. “In the event of a manic episode, one may not sleep for several days, which is followed by a period of excessive resting and sleeping. Certain medications prescribed to treat mental disorders can also lead to problems.”
“Certain breathing problems such as asthma, wheezing, and coughing, can make it difficult for a person to fall asleep,” said Dr Nadig. “For those suffering from asthma, the symptoms become worse at night due to constriction of the airways. Some medication given to treat these disorders can also trigger insomnia and fragmented sleep.”
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
“GERD causes acidic juices in the stomach to flow back into the esophagus. This leads to irritation and painful burning sensations making sleeping tough,” informs Dr Nadig. “This can worsen when a person lies down. One should consume a light dinner and avoid fried and oily meals and coffee or alcohol in the evening to avoid GERD.”
And what are some basic steps one can follow to sleep better?
“Try going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day. This will help create a routine,” advises Dr Nadig. “ Not only should you avoid napping during daytime, but also consume a light meal at night and make it an early dinner.”
Dr Nadig also says that the intake of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening should be limited as these are stimulants. Exercising is also important. “Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day,” said Dr Nadig. “However, do not do it close to bedtime.”
He also advised that one should make sure that the room they sleep in is dark and quiet. The temperature should also be appropriately adjusted. “ Do not worry about what you need to do the next day at night,” said Dr Nadig. “This can cause restlessness and create problems in falling asleep.”