Sleep is an important part of everyone’s life. Your body needs to rest and reset so you can remain focused during the day and prevent a range of health problems. Unfortunately, many people don’t get the recommended hours of sleep because of sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep-related conditions.
Even if you get enough hours of sleep but still wake up feeling tired, you might have an underlying condition that prevents your body from reaching a deep enough sleep to recharge your batteries and make you feel energized.
Fortunately, there are solutions you can turn to so you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. Some are natural remedies and lifestyle changes. Others require treatment from a healthcare professional. Diagnosing the cause of your tiredness is crucial to determine the available options and resolve your daytime fatigue.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Studies report that as many as 18 million people may suffer from a sleep condition known as sleep apnea, however, about 80 percent of those people are undiagnosed. That means you may be living with a serious sleep condition and not even know it.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to breathe abnormally while they sleep. Although there are several different types of sleep apnea, in general, sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing temporarily. When the person stops breathing, they wake up suddenly because their body detects a diminished oxygen supply. Sleep apnea needs to be taken seriously because, in addition to preventing a restful night’s sleep, it can also result in other significant health complications.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The first step to your diagnosis is to recognize that you have a problem. If you think your current issues may be sleep-related, see if you have any of these classic sleep apnea symptoms:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty thinking or focusing
- Sore throat first thing in the morning
- Snoring or your partner complains that you are snoring
You’ve discovered that you have symptoms that align with sleep apnea, so what’s next? It is time to talk to a sleep specialist. Document your symptoms, prepare a list of questions, and schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist.
Sleep medications can be an effective short-term treatment, for example, they can provide immediate relief during a period of high stress or grief. Some newer sleeping medications have been approved for longer use but they may not be the best long-term insomnia treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia may be a good treatment choice if you have long-term sleep problems, you’re worried about becoming dependent on sleep medications, or if medications aren’t effective or cause bothersome side effects.
Unlike pills, CBT-I addresses the underlying causes of insomnia rather than just relieving symptoms. But it takes time and effort to make it work. In some cases, a combination of sleep medication and CBT-I may be the best approach.
Your sleep specialist will listen to your concerns, rule out other possibilities, and may wish to schedule you for a sleep study.