10 bedtime health problems and solutions

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Sleep disorders treatment service, Nightingale

1. Snoring – smoking, drinking and obesity can make snoring worse. Try specialist products such as nose strips and throat sprays available in chemists. If these don’t work seek medical advice.

2. Sleep apnoea – this is where airways can close while you’re asleep causing snoring, daytime sleepiness and high blood pressure. To help cut down on smoking and drinking and try to maintain a healthy weight. If these do not help seek advice at www.lunguk.org/sleep

3. Nocturia – this is where you have the regular urge to pass urine multiple times in the night leading to disturbed sleep and excessive tiredness. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol in the evening and if the problem persists speak with your GP as you may have an underlying health condition such as kidney stones.

4. Sexsomnia – this is the urge to have sex or masturbate while asleep unaware. Stress, alcohol and drugs can contribute but if problem persists speak to your GP about options such as medication and counselling.

5. Restless leg syndrome – this is an unpleasant sensation in the legs that can cause a strong urge to move them to relive it disturbing sleep. Regular exercise, healthy diet and reducing alcohol intake can help but it could also be caused by conditions such as anaemia so consult your doctor if symptoms persist. Self-help includes hot bath before bed, massaging or taking a magnesium supplement.

6. Back pain – over the counter painkillers can reduce the pain and prevent disturbed sleep but shouldn’t be taken for more than three nights consecutively. Also check your mattress – is it too soft?

7. Jet lag – preparing for the changed sleep routine can help by going to be earlier or later. Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine during the flight. A brief nap of 15 minutes can also help once you arrive but not if it is close to your new night time!

8. Allergies – sneezing, coughing or itching during the night may be a symptom of nocturnal allergy. It may be caused for something outside such as pollen but also in your room such as dust mites and damp. If you suffer from Hay fever keep your window closed. Check your bedroom for damp and keep the room dust free. If symptoms persist seek advice from your GP.

9. Leg cramps – keep hydrated and eat calcium rich foods such as broccoli, cabbage and tinned sardines. Leg massage and heat treatments help too.

10. Night sweats – in women hormonal changes can cause hot flushes and night sweats. Try cotton nightwear and sage tea may limit the production of sweat.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan is Capio Nightingale’s Lead Sleep Therapist. Find out more about sleep problems and Sleep Therapy.

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