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9 Conditions Which Can Cause Sleep Problems

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It is unfortunate that millions of individuals are unable to obtain the proper amount of rest on a nightly basis. Not only can this lead to tiredness and lethargy throughout the day, but a chronic lack of sleep may cause more serious issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and even heart disease.

While obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a serious medical condition which require professional intervention, it is just as important to mention that there can be many other reasons why individuals are incapable of sleeping. Let us look at nine conditions which can play important roles in order to appreciate the big picture.


Although allergies are quite common, their impact upon a sound sleeping schedule cannot be denied. Some individuals are extremely sensitive to airborne particles. This can include pollen, dust, mould, and certain chemicals. Such substances can cause issues including as itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. Thus, it is often difficult to enjoy a restful evening due to the fact that they are more prone to wake up from time to time.

In fact, those who might already be suffering from OSA will have an even more difficult time breathing due to a narrowing of the airways.


Sixty percent of those who are diagnosed with this condition may also suffer from a variant known as “nocturnal asthma”. Such a scenario is defined by bouts of coughing, wheezing and feeling out of breath. It, therefore, stands to reason that sleeping will become more difficult. Another issue is that certain drugs intended to combat the effects of asthma (such as standard inhalers) can cause further sleep problems.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is caused by an excessive amount of acid production within the stomach. Commonly referred to as heartburn, research has highlighted that as many as three out of four people will experience problems when falling asleep at least once every week. This arises from the fact that the acid produced within the stomach has a tendency to enter the esophagus when laying down in a prone position.

It is, therefore, best to eat smaller meals later in the evening and to abstain from alcohol. Also, those who suffer from GERD may be able to find relief by placing their head six inches higher than their body (such as by using a firm pillow).

An Enlarged Prostate

The medical term for this condition is known as benign prostate hyperplasia. An enlarged prostate gland will cause males to urinate on a more frequent basis when compared to normal individuals. Thus, they are more likely to wake up throughout the overnight hours in order to use the bathroom.

It is estimated that one out of every three men may eventually be diagnosed with an enlarged prostate. However, it is important to note that several medications can help to treat this condition.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is associated with an inability for the heart to adequately pump blood throughout the body. Another symptom of this condition involves the periodic shaking of limbs while asleep. This will obviously cause those who have congestive heart failure will awake from time to time. It also needs to be mentioned that congestive heart failure will exacerbate the symptoms of OSA in regards to those who have been previously diagnosed. This is why it is important to speak with a medical professional in order to learn about the options at your disposal.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Sometimes referred to as COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is said to affect 1.2 million individuals across the United Kingdom. This actually refers to a wide variety of disorders such as emphysema, asthma and chronic bronchitis.

The main takeaway point here is that COPD will often lead to chest pain, difficulty breathing and coughing during the overnight hours. It is likewise estimated that over 50 per cent of those who suffer from COPD will report sleeping issues on a regular basis. An additional 15 per cent might also be suffering from OSA. Another confounding factor is that medications used to treat COPD (such as Prednisone and Albuterol) might further disrupt a sleeping schedule.

Mood Disorders

The majority of us suffer from periods of anxiety and “the blues” from time to time. However, those who are prone to chronic anxiety or who have been diagnosed with clinical depression are at a much higher risk of developing sleeping problems.

It is therefore critical to get to the root of these issues. Reducing perceived levels of stress as well as finding coping mechanisms can help to improve your quality of life and to restore a sound night of rest. This could involve therapeutic intervention, the use of medications or a combination of both. It is wise to speak with a doctor if you suspect that you may be suffering from depression or anxiety.


Diabetics are likewise at a higher risk of developing sleeping issues. As the body tends to excrete excessive levels of glucose into urine, it is common to awake throughout the night to go to the bathroom. Furthermore, many individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes are overweight. This once again elevates their chances of developing OSA.

Other symptoms which can cause sleeping problems include night sweats and peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage throughout the limbs which can lead to pain and discomfort). Of course, it is critical to seek medical advice if you are suffering from any of these scenarios.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (particularly anyone who is in the later stages) will often be found sleeping during the day. When this habit is combined with insomnia during the overnight hours, it is clear to see why anyone with this condition should pay particular care to their sleeping habits. The good news is that several medications are able to help these individuals obtain a sound night of rest.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

We have mentioned obstructive sleep apnoea several times throughout this article. This arises from the fact that it can often be seen concurrently alongside a host of other conditions. OSA is caused by a narrowing of the airways during the overnight hours. This makes it more difficult for the body to obtain the required amount of oxygen.

As a result, those who suffer from OSA will normally present a handful of symptoms including:

  • Waking up gasping for air.
  • Extremely loud snoring (often noticed by a partner).
  • Tiredness throughout the day.
  • Choking and coughing.

The main problem here is that these conditions will not improve without intervention. This is why it is crucial to obtain an at-home sleep test in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Professionals can then provide treatment options such as the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This helps the airways to remain open and therefore, it is possible to obtain a sound night of sleep.

Please contact us to learn more or if you have any additional questions about your treatment options. We provide an at-home testing for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea so you can learn what’s wrong — and get the treatment you need, so you get the restorative sleep you need.

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