Ways to Combat Insomnia

Posted on August 19, 2014

Photo: flickr

If you find yourself tossing and turning for hours, unable to go to sleep or stay asleep, you could be suffering from insomnia. Nearly 40 percent of Americans report some symptoms of insomnia in a given year. It can take a toll on one's emotional, psychological, and physical well-being.

Chronic lack of sleep not only causes stress and depression, but has been linked to a cluster of disorders such as diabetes, memory loss, obesity, elevated blood pressure, an increase in bad cholesterol, and accumulation of dangerous abdominal fat hugging one's internal organs.

When it comes to insomnia, professionals and sleep experts say it's hard to tell whether it’s your body that’s keeping your mind awake or vice versa.

One significant cause of poor sleep quality is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious medical condition in which airways collapse during sleep, interrupting breathing and waking people up. But not everyone with this condition realizes they are sleeping poorly. They simply feel exhausted all the time, even after what they erroneously perceive to be a solid night of sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea can be officially diagnosed during a sleep study called polysomnography, but doctors recommend these two easy at-home tests to see if you could be at risk:

The choke test. Using your index fingers and thumbs, try wrapping your hands around your neck. If your fingers can't touch, you could be at risk.

The snore test. Tilt your head back, relax the muscles in your throat and breathe in through your mouth. If you make a noise while you’re breathing, you could be at increased risk.

If you think you might have sleep apnea, talk to your primary care doctor or a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders. It requires professional treatment to improve your symptoms and design a customized treatment plan.

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Category(s):Sleep Disorders

Source material from Psych Central


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