More often than not, poor sleep is a function of poor sleep hygiene (habits), but there are some medical conditions that cause or exacerbate insomnia. Dr. Wanviput Sanphansitvong, an anti-aging physician at the Vitallife Wellness Center at Bumrungrad International Hospital explains five medical conditions that are common culprits associated with poor sleep and insomnia.
and may cause night sweats. Since the thyroid affects every organ and system in the body, the symptoms can be wide-ranging and
sometimes difficult to diagnose. Checking thyroid function is easy and requires only a simple blood test.
2. Nocturia. This is the frequent need to urinate during the night and typically affects older adults. The mild version happens at least twice during the night and in severe cases, a person may get up as many as five or six times. Nocturia may be a product of age, but could be a function of diabetes, an enlarged prostate, or medication (especially diuretics).
3. Kidney Disease. People with kidney disease can no longer eliminate liquid waste and keep electrolytes in balance as they once did when they were healthy. Kidney disease can cause a build up of waste product in the blood resulting in insomnia or symptoms of restless legs syndrome.
Dr. Wanviput recommends that people with sleep problems or insomnia may need a thorough medical evaluation to diagnose the source of the problem to assess if it is an issue related to poor sleep hygiene or a medical condition that may require the intervention of a specialist.
What’s causing your insomnia? Five possible reasons. There is no doubt about it, when we don’t sleep well we suffer. Insomnia makes our brains foggy, impairs cognitive skills and plays havoc with mood. Typically, we tend to think about sleep only at night time, but the reality is we really should be moderating our behavior during the day in order to get the best quality sleep at night.
Research on sleep shows that we are sleeping less than we used to – 20% less than we did 100 years ago -- and its easy to see why. We live in large, noisy urban centers tethered to our phones and computers where we spend several hours a day playing on social media or catching up work; often at night before we go to bed.
“We just don’t know how to power down anymore,” says Dr. Wanviput “and that creates a real problem when it comes to sleeping. As a society we have become addicted to stimuli, and as individuals we have becoming undisciplined in our sleep hygiene.”
She points to several common mistakes people make that prevent them from having a good night’s rest. Here are the top five. Too much caffeine. With coffee shops now on every corner, we are beginning to abuse coffee in our diets. Coffee is no longer just a stimulant we use to get us going in the morning, it is now a social scene and a lubricant for social get gathering. Coffee itself is not bad, but drinking too much coffee or too late in the day will cause sleep problems for most of us.
Sleeping poorly? Your phone may be to blame. Only about 50% of 1,500 adults in the adults surveyed in the 2013 International Bedroom Poll conducted by National Sleep Foundation said they get a good night’s sleep on work nights.
Why? Well, it could be screen time.
The survey showed that 50% of respondents in the U.S., Canada and U.K., and 66% in Japan, used a computer, laptop or tablet in the hour before bed, and 66% in all countries surveyed watched TV in the hour before bed. Sleep is competing with screen time…and its losing.
It’s not just mobile phones — but iPads, TVs, laptops – and all the blinking lights and alerts they admit all the time. Phones are conditioning behavior and affecting sleep patterns in more people than ever before.
In research conducted by Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation, routinely getting less than 8 hours of sleep compromises alertness, reaction time, efficiency, productivity and mood. Furthermore, poor sleep over time is associated with obesity, diabetes and heart disease. “We need to remember that sleep is medicine -- it heals, it regenerates, it revitalizes,” says Dr. Wanviput, “and sleep is one of those things like diet and exercise that YOU can control.” Doctors who specialize in lifestyle medicine often talk about insomnia as a lifestyle disease, because it is influenced by our daily routines and habits. Experts in the field of sleep recommends that the best set up for a good night’s sleep is to power down the electronics, put the phone down and turn the screens off. The ideal setting is a very dark temperature controlled room, that is relaxing and safe with no distracting bright lights or noise that will disturb sleep time or sleep quality.