Category Archives: Sleep Disorders

Sleepless in Seattle: How to Sleep When You’re Lovesick

 

lovesick

While there are all manners of cartoons and feature films (like the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan hit Sleepless in Seattle) dedicated to the chaos Cupid’s arrow leaves in its wake when it strays off mark, in all seriousness, lovesickness can be a trying condition for the people who find themselves in its throes. Lovesickness, despite thoughts to the contrary, is not all in your head.

While it may seem like a romantic concept in the eyes of some, there are actual physical symptoms associated with this condition, in addition to the mental symptoms that are more commonly associated with it. Most people will suffer from some form of lovesickness in their lifetime—to a varying degree.

How to Sleep When You Are Worried

 

worried in bed

People try many things to fall asleep when worries weigh heavily upon their minds. Some people count sheep. Bing Crosby counted his blessings. But there are other things you can do, which are much more conducive to sleeping—even when you’re worried—than counting. If you’re having a hard time sleeping at night because the worries of the world are keeping you up, perhaps it’s time to try out these great tips.

Sleeping with Socks On

socks on in bed

One of the most important things you need in order to properly function and have good physical and mental health, is an adequate amount of “good sleep” each night. And, as crazy as it might sound to some, sleeping with socks on can make a surprising difference in the quality and quantity of sleep you get at night. But, why can it make so much of a difference, and is it the right move for you to make?

Why Wear Socks While Sleeping?

According to Dr. Oz, turning down the thermostat in your home and sleeping with socks on is a great way to trick your body. What happens is your body believes it’s hot, which forces a reduction in your core temperature. The end result is that because your body believes it is cooler, you are better able to fall asleep and remain asleep.

Night Terrors in Adults

man in bed afraid

Most people are surprised to learn night terrors — or often called sleep terrors — impact a surprising number of adults. While the condition is most commonly associated with children between the ages of three and twelve, it is also known to affect adults. The exact causes of night terrors are relatively unknown, though adults that experience them often find that there is a genetic predisposition to do so. Sometimes they are attributed to post traumatic stress — especially when night terrors impact soldiers coming home from war and victims of violence. According to the Mayo Clinic, most night terrors in children will cease by the time the child is in his or her adolescence.

Night Terrors in Children

little girl in bed

Has your child ever had an episode during sleep that included intense crying, kicking, thrashing, sweating, breathing quickly, rapidly beating heart rate, screaming loudly, getting out of bed and running throughout the house, being difficult to waken, or experiencing a profound fear? If so, your child probably had a night terror, also referred to as a sleep terror.

Who Experiences Night Terrors?

Up to 6 percent of children have a night terror at one time or another, according to WebMD. Children between the ages of three to 12 years are the most likely to get them. Although night terrors in adults are also an undesired sleep disorder, they occur in a far less percentage in adults than children. Fortunately, most children outgrow their night terrors by the time they reach their teens.  If you’re a parent of a child who has night terrors, you should know that in most cases, night terrors in children aren’t a cause for a concern, albeit scary to witness.

Too Excited to Sleep

excited

When was the last time you were too excited to sleep? Was it over an important job interview? How about an upcoming vacation? This priceless Disney commercial sums it up for many people.

While many people associate this sense of excitement preventing sleep with the exuberance of the young, it can be a real downer the next day when adults are the ones who are too excited to sleep the night before. What can you do to get the sleep you need before exciting events, so that you’re not dealing with the fog of sleep deprivation rather than enjoying the event you were so excited about the night before?

Keep to Your Normal Nighttime Routine

What this means is that the packing and plans need to be finished well ahead of time, so you’re not rushing around trying to pick out the right interview power suit or pack all your vacation toiletries long after you should have been in bed in the first place. Keeping to your normal routine signals the brain that it’s time to shut down and prepare the body for sleep.

Eating Before Bed

late night snack

Who doesn’t love a great midnight snack? The problem is, those midnight snacks might not be showing your body the love it really needs to receive from the food you eat. In fact, late night eating may have a few unexpected and certainly unwanted side effects. You should be aware of the potential pitfalls involved in eating before bed before you take another bite of your favorite late night snack attack fix.

Downside of Eating Before Bed

The bedtime routine in your house may invite late night snacks, or even after dinner snacks. But, are these snacks as good for your body as you think they are? Probably not. These are a few of the potential side effects associated with eating before bed that you need to know about.

Too Tired to Sleep

too tired

Sleep, aside from food and water, is one of the most important things the body needs in order to repair itself, recover from injuries, and prepare to face the day. People who have difficulty sleeping or are unable to get an adequate amount of sleep will often find their communication ability, critical thinking, and even mobility are impaired—especially those who suffer from long-term sleep deprivation.

Are you getting enough sleep? Do you wake up feeling well-rested most mornings, or do you find yourself hitting the snooze button a few too many times once morning rolls around?

What if You’re Too Tired to Sleep?

Believe it or not, some people feel so tired and yet are unable to fall asleep. Any parent who has gone through the terrible two’s knows what it’s like to have a little one fighting sleep. The child is sleepy, it’s past nap time or bed time, and the child is struggling, fighting, wailing, and crying—anything to keep from going to sleep.

When you’re overly tired, sleep can be incredibly elusive leaving you feeling as frustrated as an overstimulated child fighting sleep. Your body is screaming for sleep, but your mind simply won’t shut off and let it happen.

Sleep Anxiety

anxiously lying awake

The average person feels a little jagged around the edges as a result of a sleepless night or even a night when the quality of sleep was less than optimal. However, a recent study conducted by the Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley has revealed that “people who are highly anxious may actually be more vulnerable” to serious anxiety issues in the aftermath of a sleepless night.

The University of California, Berkeley study scanned the brains of 18 adults (who were all in good health) on two different occasions. One was after an ordinary night’s worth of sleep and the other after a night where they were deprived of sleep. During each session, subjects were exposed to a period of prolonged anticipation of a potentially negative experience. Those who experienced sleep deprivation the night before had reactions that were significantly stronger than those who had enjoyed a more restful sleep on the previous evening. In some cases, primarily for those predisposed to anxiety, the reaction was amplified by as much as 60 percent.

Which Comes First, Anxiety or Sleep Issues?

Once upon a time it was well understood that chronic anxiety can do a real number on your ability to sleep. For a long time, it was believed that sleep problems were simply side effects of anxiety disorder. However, new research indicates that sleep deprivation can actually be the cause of an anxiety disorder. Research also indicates that patients suffering from almost any psychiatric disorder also suffer from some form of sleep disorder. People who suffer from chronic insomnia are at a much greater risk of developing some type of anxiety disorder.

Winter Sleep (SAD)

sad teenage girl

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also referred to as the “winter blues” in its milder form, impacts roughly half a million individuals each winter, according to Mental Health America. This disorder makes its presence during the months of September through April, but peaks during the winter months of December, January, and February.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

One of the hallmark signs of seasonal affective disorder is winter sleep disturbances. Among feedback from nearly 300 SAD patients, complaints of excessive oversleeping, termed hypersomnia, were made by 80 percent of the respondents, according to a study by researchers at Brigham’s and Women’s Hospital.

Aside from winter sleep hypersomnia, other symptoms of SAD include:

  • excessive morning grogginess (difficulty waking up)
  • difficulty staying awake
  • overeating
  • carbohydrates cravings
  • lack of energy and feeling of lethargy and fatigue
  • withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities
  • decreased sex drive
  • weight gain
  • difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • not completing tasks
  • feeling depressed