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Common Sleep Issues

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We all have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling rested at times. This could be caused by stress, anxiety, medical conditions, lifestyle habits, and our environment. Knowing the cause and addressing sleep issues is important for maintaining your health and well-being. Here are three common sleep issues and how to screen for them.

Insomnia

Insomnia is when you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, or other health complications. The first step to finding out if you have insomnia is to keep a sleep diary. In the sleep diary, record the hours spent asleep, the number of times you wake up, the amount of caffeine you drink per day, and any symptoms you experience throughout the day. Keep a sleep diary for 2 weeks and show it to your healthcare provider. You can also use the Athens Insomnia Scale to assess sleep difficulty over the last month.

Sleep Apnea

Loud snoring at night may be more than just an annoying habit. This can be an indication of sleep apnea, described as temporary cessation of breathing during sleep. The repeated cessation of breathing throughout the night interrupts the sleep cycle. People with sleep apnea can experience headaches, daytime sleepiness, reduced focus, and difficulty staying asleep. Sleep Apnea is diagnosed through an overnight sleep study known as polysomnography. This study uses sensors that monitor brain wave activity, heart and breathing rates, oxygen levels, and muscle movements during sleep. Click the following link to learn about your risk of sleep apnea: Know Your Sleep Apnea Risk.

Sleep Bruxism

Teeth grinding and clenching are common involuntary reactions to fear, anger, or stress. Involuntary teeth grinding is known as bruxism. Sleep bruxism is when you grind or clench your teeth while sleeping. It can cause dental/teeth problems, headaches, jaw pain, and disrupted sleep. Screening for sleep bruxism can include self-reporting of symptoms such as waking up with a sore jaw, noticing teeth grinding sounds, and noticing any damage to teeth. Like sleep apnea, sleep bruxism can also be diagnosed through polysomnography. If you notice any of these symptoms, speak with your dentist and healthcare provider.

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