What Are The Most Common Causes of Sleep Problems?

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Sleep is essential for our mental and physical health. But in today’s world, it keeps getting harder and harder to get a full night’s sleep and wake up well-rested. Several elements determine whether you will get a restful night’s sleep or not. 

Sleep disturbances are disorders of initiating and maintaining sleep. These disorders could result in too much sleep, too little sleep, sleep-wake stages, or problems with sleep, partial arousal, and sleep stages. 

After a night full of restful sleep, you will wake and feel energetic and ready to face the day. But if that isn’t the case, you might be suffering from sleep deprivation. Often sleep deprivation causes short-term effects such as tiredness, lack of concentration, and poor physical performance. In the long run, it increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke, among others. 

Importance of sleep

  1. Improves your immunity: A study shows that sleep loss is linked to impaired immune function even in the slightest quantity. In a 2-week study, participants were given nasal drops with the cold virus. Participants who slept for not more than seven hours proved three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept for over eight hours. 
  2. Improves productivity and concentration: Research shows that sleep tends to interfere with your cognitive function, performance, and concentration. To show you how important sleep is, another study on interns proved that those who worked for over 24 hours had 36% more serious medical accidents than those that slept enough.  
  3. Sleep loss leads to weight gain: Short sleeping periods are strongly linked with obesity. In a review, adults with short sleep periods were 89% more likely to develop obesity, while the kids were 55% more likely to develop obesity. If your goal is weight loss, quality sleep is a necessity. 
  4. Leads to the consumption of more calories: According to studies, people who have had insufficient sleep tend to experience imbalanced hormones leading to a bigger appetite and eating more calories. 
  5. Poor sleep results in inflammation: Sleep loss is determined to cause long-term inflammation in the digestive tract, such as inflammatory bowel disease
  6. Sleep affects emotional and social interactions. Researchers believe that lack of sufficient sleep impairs your judgment of social cues and processing of emotional information. 
  7. Poor sleep leads to depression. Mental health issues are strongly related to insufficient sleep. An estimate of 90% of people with depression complain about the quality of their sleep. 
  8. Sleep affects glucose metabolism. In a study, 11 young men were restricted to only four hours in bed every night for six nights. The study showed that sleep loss could be harmful to carbohydrate metabolism, and the results could lead to an increase in the severity of age-related illnesses. 
  9. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. The sleep quality and quantity that you get every night greatly determines your health. A review of 15 studies concluded that people who regularly get insufficient sleep face a greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease than those who sleep 7-8 hours a night. 
  10. Sleep enhances athletic performance. The amount and quality of sleep greatly determine athletic performance and strength. A study found that basketball players had improved performance after having a sleep extension. 

What are the most common causes of sleep problems? 

Various factors could result in sleep problems. Although causes may differ, they still end up disrupting the natural sleep cycle. 

  1. Physical 

Various physical disruptions could prevent you from having a quality sleep at night. 

  • Too hot to sleep
  • Too cold to sleep 
  • Ulcers or chronic pain

When our body is overheating at night, it tends to prevent you from having a proper sleep. When going to sleep, make sure your room is neither too hot at night nor too cold; otherwise, you’ll keep tossing and turning the entire time. If you experience body overheating at night, you should probably set your air-conditioner a bit cold. 

People suffering from chronic pain also tend not to get enough sleep. They have prolonged sleep onset and premature wakefulness. When dealing with sleep disruptions caused by pain from other existing conditions, you should see your doctor or sleep-trained pharmacist and seek further advice on the prevalent problem before you start sorting out the sleep issue. 

  1. Medical issues 

Medical conditions such as sleep apnoea could highly contribute to sleep problems. Sleep apnoea happens when breathing stops and starts repeatedly. This results from the soft tissue at the back of the mouth and throat becoming relaxed and blocking airways. 

When your breathing keeps stopping and starting all over again, it prevents you from reaching the deeper states of sleep where restoration and healing happens. You may not notice that you have obstructive sleep apnoea, but your partner will. You will mostly wake up feeling like you aren’t well-rested even when you thought you’ve slept for enough hours. 

These days, solutions for sleep apnoea are prevalent. You should visit a sleep-trained pharmacist to get a proper diagnosis. 

  1. Depression and anxiety

One of the most prevalent features of depression and anxiety is lack of sleep or too much sleep. 75% of people with depression have trouble falling and staying asleep. Also, people with sleeping problems such as insomnia and sleep apnoea tend to be at a higher risk of depression. 

Anxiety causes constant fear and worry, which tends to prevent you from sleeping at night. People with anxiety stay up at night just thinking and worrying leading to sleep deprivation. 

  1. Environmental issues 

There are issues in our physical environment that could cause you not to sleep well at night. 

  • Snoring partner
  • Too much light outside
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Overeating 
  • Noise 

When you have a snoring partner, you may end up staying awake all night due to the noise. Most people who snore suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea. When your partner stops breathing in sleep, you know they have sleep apnoea, resulting in snoring. There are many anti-snoring devices available online that could help your snoring partner. 

When light is outside, our bodies tend not to sleep because melatonin gets activated by darkness. You could need to sleep during the day because you have shift work. To prevent light from interfering with your sleep, use blackout curtains or a mask to mimic night. 

As much as alcohol helps with sleep onset, it also makes you wake early. Excessive alcohol consumption results in poor sleep quality. 

When you overeat, it tends to mess up your circadian rhythm, preventing you from having sufficient sleep at night. If you eat too many spicy foods, it may cause acid reflux, interfering with your sleep. 

Noise is a factor that could cause sleep interference at night. If you live in an area with too much noise, you can get earplugs, proof your room, or bolt the windows with soundproof material. These may help prevent noise interference when you’re resting. 

Are over-the-counter “stop snoring” products effective? 

The short answer is ‘NO.’ Over-the-counter anti-snoring devices aren’t effective in treating snoring problems. If you or your bedmate or roommate is a snorer, you need to consult a doctor or a sleep-trained pharmacist and see if there’s a deeper issue causing the snoring, before you start purchasing unprescribed anti-snoring devices. 

Many people would go to extreme lengths to stifle thunderous snores coming from their partners or roommates. Many people find themselves buying the online anti-snoring products that, for the most part, aren’t effective. 

When buying anti-snoring devices, you’ll find that they can be costly and uncomfortable. Some people end up being hurt by them, and they still snore at the end of the day! 

The best solution for a snoring partner is going for a consultation with a sleep-trained pharmacist. And it isn’t costly to do this, (approx £30) so why would you prefer to buy an anti-snoring device online? It’s much better to get an in-depth look into what could be the leading cause of snoring than buying products that could end up being useless. 

Some dentists are also well-trained to handle snoring and sleep apnoea. Find that dentist, and they will work closely to make sure you stop snoring. Many risks come with self-prescribed forms of medication. Most of these anti-snoring devices are risky because it’s more likely to swallow bits of these devices and hurt your jaw joints, than it is to spit them out or grind them with your teeth. 

Seeing a dentist means creating an adjustable device tailored to your specific needs and made of quality material. If you can’t find a sleep-trained dentist or your not sure you need an anti-snoring device, then consult a sleep-trained pharmacist and get assessed and directed to the most appropriate help for you – taking into account your medical history. 

How do anti-snoring products work?

Even though there are various anti-snoring devices, they all tend to do the same thing. They open the airways by bringing your tongue (and sometimes lower jaw) forwards as you sleep. This movement intends to increase the space behind your tongue. 

Types of snoring devices 

There are different types of snoring devices meant to solve snoring. 

  1. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)

This method works by moving the jaw slightly forward, which separates the vibrating parts in the throat. MADs reduce snoring. With time, this device may interfere with your teeth by shifting your jaw position.

  1. Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSDs)

These devices work by pulling the tongue forward and create a wider gap between the back of the throat and the tongue. Even though they don’t cause jaw discomfort, they may cause a lot of spit and discomfort due to the angle of the tongue. 

  1. Snoring chin straps 

Chin straps have recently become popular. They claim to work by supporting your chin during sleep to keep it closed. But are they safe and effective?

Side effects of using over-the-counter anti-snoring devices 

Even though there’s a high sale of anti-snoring devices, they’re not for everyone, and as this study shows they can have side effects including:

  • Excess salivation and drying: Since most of these devices tend to keep your mouth open, you will end up drooling more than usual. Also, the mouth staying open often causes it to dry. 
  • Bite change: Dental devices move your jaw forward to create more space at the back of the mouth and prevent snoring. With time, this causes your jaw to reposition, which can change your bite.
  • Jaw pain: These anti-snoring devices tend to make the jaw unnatural, causing pain to your jaws. Throughout the night, your jaw will stay engaged or kept open. It will take a long time to get adjusted, and most people end up throwing away these devices. 
  • Sore teeth: Sometimes, these devices will hurt your teeth. Which means you should see your dentist and get it adjusted.
  • Discomfort: When you begin using a new device in your mouth, there will be many discomforts that come with it. You will have to sacrifice a few sleepless nights. Your first few weeks or months may be spent awake. 
  • Tooth decay and damaged gum line: Most of these devices need proper cleaning. Otherwise, they will eventually cause tooth decay. Your gum line will also be in danger since they tend to damage the gum line with time. 

Final Words 

Sleeping problems are a menace to many people today. Insufficient sleep causes many chronic diseases in the long-run, so it is better to fix the problem causing your sleep disturbances instead of waiting for them to progress and become worse. Most sleeping problems have a solution. All you need to do is consult a sleep-trained pharmacist and figure out what causes your sleep issues. 

Snoring is the most prevalent sleeping problem that people experience. As much as there are many over-the-counter anti-snoring devices out there, most of them are not effective. These devices are in the market to steal the consumer’s money. When buying such products, it is better to check out any studies that back up their effectiveness and the results of those studies. 

Often, you will find that the company pushing to sell these products pay for the research making it biased towards conning the buyer into purchasing unwanted products. 

The best advice we could give you or your partner is to consult a sleep-trained pharmacist It can literally be a lifesaver.

Alternatively, visit a sleep-trained dentist. We have put together a group of reliable dentists that you can reach out to, to get a custom-made anti-snoring device.

Featured image: https://www.pexels.com/@kampus

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