3 Common Reasons You Can’t Stay Asleep at Night and What to Do About It

What do you do when you can't sleep? Advice from a dentist.

Can’t Sleep? Tips From a Sleep Dentist

For many, sleep is a welcome escape from the stress of the day, providing a simple way for the body to recover and recharge. For others, however, sleeping can be a frustrating experience characterized by waking up during the night, which only serves to increase stress rather than lessen it. 

If you are struggling to sleep through the night, you may have insomnia. Several factors can contribute to why you can’t sleep. 

What is insomnia? 

Insomnia is often thought of as staying awake all night and not falling asleep. However, this is only one form of insomnia. There are two main categories of insomnia: short-term and chronic. 

As the name implies, short-term insomnia lasts for a finite period of time. It is usually caused by a stressful life event. Most people have an occasional experience with insomnia.

On the other hand, if you can’t sleep for at least three nights per week for three months or longer, this is considered chronic insomnia—a long-term pattern of lack of sleep. 

Factors Affecting Your Insomnia 

Although numerous issues can cause insomnia, there are 3 key reasons you may not be sleeping well at night. 

1. Stress  

The American lifestyle keeps you busy and on the go. What you have to do tomorrow may explain why you can’t sleep tonight. Persistent stressors contribute to both short-term and chronic insomnia. 

Some lifestyle stressors that may contribute to lack of sleep include: 

  • Unhappiness at work or school.  
  • Family problems. 
  • Marital issues.
  • Death of a loved one or pet.  
  • Significant injury or illness. 
  • Critical life changes. 

Not everyone facing these challenges suffers from insomnia. But changes to your sleep schedule, whether it’s due to these life events or not, can influence your insomnia.

Stress management is essential for getting a good night’s sleep. One of the primary ways to combat stress is to stick to a strict sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at a set time every day, including on weekends and vacation.

Before bed, create a to-do list to help unload your brain and decompress. Or you can try visualizing a shelf where you can store your worries until morning. Incorporating meditation into your routine can help settle your brain, preparing it for sleep. 

2. Sleep Apnea        

Sleep apnea is a condition that restricts your throat while you sleep, causing you to momentarily stop breathing. Your brain alerts you to wake up, forcing you to gasp for air before falling asleep again. It’s a repeated cycle that prevents you from getting sufficient rest, causing you to be drowsy the next day. 

Many people are unaware they have sleep apnea until their partner alerts them to a problem. This condition affects 20% of the population, yet it goes undiagnosed 90% of the time. Symptoms of sleep apnea can include: 

  • Loud or regular snoring.
  • Awakening with shortness of breath.
  • Gasping in your sleep.
  • Dry mouth and sore throat. 
  • Morning headaches.
  • Daytime drowsiness.
  • Irritability, depression, or mood swings.
  • Brain fog. 
  • Recurring need to urinate during the night.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and an increased risk of automobile accidents. Inadequate sleep is connected to mood swings, depression, and anxiety.      

Seeking effective treatment for your sleep apnea can help resolve your insomnia. Consulting with a board-certified sleep medicine physician in Newport Beach or the greater Orange County area will help you find a solution for your condition. 

You’ll receive an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan to prevent or reverse sleep apnea’s physical and mental health consequences. Treatment may include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a machine that supplies air pressure through a mask as you sleep. 

These devices may be uncomfortable for some patients. You can also opt for an alternative sleep apnea appliance that opens your throat by bringing your jaw slightly forward. Dr. Desai, your sleep dentist in Newport Beach, can help you get fitted for a sleep apnea night guard. 

3. Nocturia

“Nocturia” refers to a condition when you frequently go to the toilet at night. You continuously wake up to use the bathroom, which prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. 

Because of this, you may struggle with fatigue, excessive drowsiness, irritation, or a lack of focus. These issues can affect your ability to work, learn, stay healthy, and enjoy life. 

Nocturia may indicate an underlying medical issue. The root of the problem must be identified to help you get a good night’s sleep. Your doctor in Newport Beach will complete an evaluation that typically includes the following: 

  • Medical history. 
  • Physical exam.
  • Urine test.
  • Sleep disorder screening. 

Depending on the results, your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist, send you for prostate treatment, suggest drinking less, have you take your medications at an earlier time, or suggest compression stockings.

Learn about your options for dealing with sleep apnea. 

The first step to getting a good night’s rest is learning what’s causing your sleeping issues. Undergoing testing with sleep clinics and troubleshooting your sleeping routine can help you determine the root of your insomnia. 

So what role does your dentist play? If it turns out that snoring is an issue or if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, you might need a snore-stopper or a sleep apnea appliance. Dr. Desai would love to help you with this so you can begin your journey to a more restful night’s sleep. Just schedule an appointment with Luminous Smiles today.