If you’re pregnant or having menopausal symptoms you know how hard it is to fall asleep easy at night. But there are other reasons that you should consider if you’re having trouble getting the sleep you need. No matter how old you are you could be suffering from one of these sleep stealers.
If you are in your 20’s or 30’s women usually blame their lack of sleep on parenthood and the demands of raising a family and working at a job day after day. Did you know that 5-10% of women develop postpartum thyroiditis following delivery? An overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism can make too much thyroid hormone that controls your metabolism that can make a lot of things in your body speed up. You lose weight, have a fast heartbeat, sweat easily and/or feel nervous or moody. After a few months the condition changes to hypothyroidism where the body produces less thyroid hormone leaving you feeling constantly fatigued. Most women with postpartum thyroiditis will regain their normal thyroid function.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism may be unclear and can often mimic symptoms of other conditions. What to look for: changes in your menstrual cycle, constipation, dry hair or hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, sensitivity to cold, slow heart rate, swelling of the thyroid gland, weight gain, carpal tunnel syndrome and even depression. As you know depression alone can cause insomnia and many antidepressant medications have sleep-related side effects.
Having hypothyroidism can become serious and you should seek treatment from your primary healthcare professional.
According to WebMD.com thyroid problems in a pregnant woman can affect their developing baby. During the first three months of pregnancy, the baby receives all thyroid hormone from its mother. If the mother has hypothyroidism, the baby does not get enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to problems with mental development.
Extremely low levels of thyroid hormone can cause a life-threatening condition called myxedema. Myxedema is the most severe form of hypothyroidism. A person with myxedema can lose consciousness or go into a coma. The condition can also cause the body temperature to drop very low, which can cause death.
Treating your hypothyroidism may put your thyroid hormone back to healthy levels but in the meantime may not ease your depression or insomnia. Side effects from medications or sleep aids can be addictive. Many specialists recommend using cognitive behavioral therapy methods, developing good sleep habits and going to therapeutic group sessions can help with both your insomnia and depression.
Once you’re in your 40’s you might wake up during the night to go to the bathroom. Don’t be alarmed, you may only be having a urinary tract infection (UTI). In your mid-forties decreased estrogen levels thin the lining of the vagina and bladder which makes perimenopausal woman more prone to infection. Talk to your doctor if you notice a change in your bathroom habits especially if you have other symptoms like: increased thirst, increased hunger, dry mouth, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, feeling weak, headaches and blurred vision as these are signs of type 2 diabetes a condition that is more prevalent in people that suffer from sleep disturbances like; insomnia, snoring or sleep apnea.
Deep sleep decreases in your late forties making waking up during the night more frequent. Exercise may help. Giving your body more repair work during the night means more deep sleep. Experts feel that 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise will do the trick.
For those 50 and over watch the prescription drugs you may be taking for other health conditions such as high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. Hypertension sufferers usually take a diuretic which increases your chances of getting up during the night to use the bathroom. Ask your doctor if you can take your pills in the morning instead. A side effect from taking a statin for cholesterol control is muscle aches which can make falling asleep harder due to a depletion of the co-enzyme Q10. Co-Q10 is a natural protein required for normal functioning of the muscle cells. Ask your doctor if it is OK to try a co-Q10 supplement to replenish this diminished enzyme.
If you are a heavy snorer it could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) a disorder in which breathing briefly stops periodically while you sleep. As I stated before OSA is linked to developing type 2 diabetes, but also is known to cause hypertension and heart related conditions. Your chance of getting OSA increases after menopause when your progesterone levels drop. Weight gain is also associated with OSA after menopause and worsens this disorder. In some cases losing 10% of your body fat can actually cure OSA. Your doctor may recommend staying at a sleep clinic so they can monitor you while sleeping to properly diagnosis this condition.
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