7 Common Conditions That Affect Deep Sleep and How to Deal with Them

7 Common Conditions That Affect Deep Sleep and How to Deal with Them

7 Common Conditions That Affect Deep Sleep and How to Deal with Them

Getting enough continuous deep sleep is vital for optimal health and daytime functioning. Unfortunately, many prevalent medical conditions disrupt the deeper stages of sleep. In this article, we’ll discuss seven common conditions that impact deep sleep and provide suggestions to address them. Making simple changes to your sleep environment and properly managing underlying illnesses can help you finally get the uninterrupted deep sleep your body needs.

  • Insomnia

Insomnia makes it challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, preventing sufficient time spent in deep sleep stages. Insomnia can stem from underlying mental health issues like anxiety, depression or PTSD, chronic pain conditions, medication side effects, or poor sleep habits and hygiene.  Sleep-promoting medication like sedatives can help in the short term but will not resolve insomnia in the long run if the underlying factors are not addressed as well. Making both lifestyle changes to optimize sleep conditions and treating the source of insomnia through medical or therapeutic means leads to the best chances of defeating insomnia and experiencing consistent deep, restorative sleep.

  • Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome causes uncomfortable leg sensations and urges to move them, interfering with sleep initiation and continuity. This impedes descending into deep restorative sleep. Anti-seizure drugs, dopamine agonists, or benzodiazepines can minimize symptoms at night. Stretches, massages, warm baths, and caffeine avoidance also help.

  • Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea involves disrupted breathing during sleep, impeding deep sleep. The repeated breath pauses reduce oxygen, causing frequent light arousals out of deep sleep. Sleep apnea is commonly treated with CPAP therapy to regulate breathing via air pressure. Other options include oral appliances, upper airway stimulation, or weight loss. Avoiding alcohol and sleeping on your side can improve apnea but you may also want to research how to finally stop sleeping with your mouth open for further tips.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, creating discomfort that disrupts sleep onset and continuity. Since lying down worsens reflux, GERD prevents entering deep sleep. Avoiding triggers, not eating before bed, taking antacids, and propping yourself up while sleeping can reduce symptoms. Acid-decreasing medication may be prescribed for recurring heartburn.

  • Chronic Pain

Conditions like arthritis, neuropathy, migraines, and fibromyalgia frequently interfere with achieving deep therapeutic sleep stages. The constant pain prevents the body from relaxing fully into deep sleep. Treating the underlying pain through medication, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, or electrical nerve stimulation can improve sleep quantity and quality. Mindfulness meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and developing healthy sleep habits may also help manage chronic pain.

  • Depression

Depression frequently causes insomnia and disrupts sleep cycles, reducing deep sleep. Combining antidepressants with psychotherapy is effective for depression. However, certain antidepressants may worsen sleep issues. Adjusting dosage timing or exploring alternative remedies with your doctor can help. Lifestyle changes like exercise and limiting alcohol also support depression management.

  • Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, and phobias involve excessive worry, rumination, and physical tension. This mental overstimulation makes it quite difficult to unwind mentally and physically to enter deep sleep. Psychotherapy techniques help lower anxiety sensitivity and teach coping strategies. Anti-anxiety medications like certain SSRIs or benzodiazepines can temporarily reduce symptoms at night. Relaxation practices like yoga, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises are also beneficial.

Several common medical conditions disrupt the deep restorative sleep vital for health. Treating underlying conditions and optimizing sleep hygiene can help minimize these issues. Addressing illnesses causing congestion, discomfort, or pain allows the body to relax into continuous deep sleep. Getting enough deep quality sleep improves physical and mental wellbeing, making it worthwhile to manage conditions interfering with it.

Guest Article.

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