Is Lack of Sleep Causing Your Blood Pressure Problems?

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Do you suffer from high blood pressure? If so, it could be down to a vast array of health conditions – many of which involve your sleeping patterns. Unfortunately, the less sleep we have, the more likely it is we develop high blood pressure and, therefore, the more stressed we feel throughout the day. Here are some of the sleep conditions that can aggravate your preexisting problems with hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Snoring

Snoring isn’t just a massive issue for your partner – it could also be causing your hypertension, according to WebMD.com. For many years now, researchers have proven a link between snoring and high blood pressure – in fact, you are one and a half times more likely to have it just because you are a simple snorer. However, the research also suggests that this association reduces as you get older, so if you are below 35-40, make sure you get checked out for hypertension by your physician.

Sleep apnea

Given that snoring causes hypertension, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the same occurs with sleep apnea. You can find out more from DentistrywithTLC.com, but in simple terms, sleep apnea compromises the cardiovascular system and places stress on the heart. In fact, blood pressure is one of the biggest dangers with this sleep condition, so if you are displaying any signs of sleep apnea – struggling for breath while you are asleep – make sure you get checked out, no matter what age you are.

Insomnia

Another unsurprising addition to this list is insomnia. Ultimately, the less you sleep, the more you are likely to worry about it, and as your levels of anxiety increase, so will your blood pressure.

Circadian rhythm disorder

There are several different types of circadian rhythm disorders – or sleep phase disorders – but all of them result in the same issues. It’s a little like experiencing permanent jet lag, and whether you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, or find yourself cycling later and later in the day, it all results in the same problems: severe tiredness and high blood pressure. Again, make sure you see your doctor so you can get yourself on a treatment pathway sooner rather than later.

Restless leg syndrome

Do you experience periods of the day when you can’t stop your leg moving? If so, there’s every chance you do it in the night, too. And the impact can be huge, because every time your leg starts to jump around, your sleep pattern and depth are both affected. Sleep fragmentation will occur, and whether you are aware of it or not, you will end up suffering from sleep deprivation.

Shift work disorder

Finally – are you working nights? Even if you decide to work through one single night, your circadian system will shoot itself to pieces, and your blood pressure will rise through the roof. While healthy individuals should suffer no consequences, if you already suffer from hypertension, working unsociable hours could even result in a stroke.

Are Headaches Keeping You Awake At Night?

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As a society, it’s fair to say that we aren’t getting enough sleep – for reasons entirely within our control. Whether it’s to do with using bright screens at night, the pressures and strains of modern life, or just the occasional worry on our minds, a lot can impact the quality of an average night’s shuteye.

But it’s even more frustrating when you have to spend those sleepless hours in pain – which many people who suffer nighttime headaches experience. Perhaps your head pains are stopping you from going to sleep; maybe they are waking you in the middle of the night. Regardless, it’s a problem you need to fix. Stop those headaches occurring, and you should be able to feel refreshed, invigorated, and in better shape come morning.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might be getting headaches at night – and reveal some solutions.

Stress and tension

We all seem to lead more stressful lives than ever these days. And if you go to bed in a state of heightened tension, not only will it be difficult to drop off, but you are also more likely to wake up with a headache. The problem will only worsen, too. Exhaustion often triggers migraines as you sleep, and can even exacerbate them, meaning you end up in something of a vicious circle. You get a headache and can’t relax, and end up exhausted – and you get more headaches the next night, and the next, and so on. If stress and tension are causing your problems, it’s vital to seek help. Your doctor may prescribe you something for you if you are anxious, and some time off work could also be useful, but the real treatment lies in talking out your problems. A therapist or counselor could be the answer – once you start to get things out in the open, they will be able to suggest a few coping strategies.

Migraines

As anyone who suffers from migraines will tell you, they can be incredibly painful, and wake you up at any moment. However, often you will find that migraines have particular triggers, so the first step to getting on top of things is to identify what is kickstarting the headache. It could be anything, so be aware of what you are eating before you go to bed, and also check your bedroom for chemicals. If you can’t find the source of the problem or the headaches increase in voracity, there are a couple of options available. See if you can schedule an acupuncture session. While acupuncture is still classed as alternative medical treatment, research suggests it can be very successful when it comes to headaches and migraines. However, it’s best to go and see your doctor first, who may well provide you with some pharmaceutical treatment for your migraines.

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Cluster headaches

Of all types of headache, the variety known as cluster headaches are, perhaps, the worst. They cause excruciating pain and are sometimes known as ‘suicide headaches’ because of their veracity. They are called cluster headaches because they tend to occur at specific times of the year, which varies from person to person, and also happen at regular times of the day. If you get one during the daytime, it’s bad enough – but if they are waking you at night, it could be hours before you get to sleep. There are no cures for cluster headaches, although they can be managed when it comes to dealing with the pain. Some people take pure oxygen in a tank to ease their booming heads, while others can take sumatriptan – a steroid-like drug that opens up the blood vessels and relieves the severe and restrictive pain.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a state that your body gets in when you have very low blood sugar. Once it occurs, it means you basically have not enough sugar in your body to function correctly, and the results can be quite extreme. You might experience terrible night sweats, for example, and, of course, it can also lead to quite nasty headaches. If it happens more than once, there’s a good chance you need to have a small, balanced snack before bedtime. Whole wheat crackers with a little cheese – not too much because of the nightmares! – and perhaps a small portion of fruit is all you need.

Hydration

Just as you can get headaches after being dehydrated in the day, so you can experience the same at night. Of course, there is a delicate balance to strike between having enough water and too much – and you don’t want to switch your night time headaches for constant trips to the bathroom – so focus more on topping up your water levels throughout the day. And never go to bed feeling thirsty – when you feel like you need a drink, you are already dehydrated. You should aim to drink around eight average-sized glasses of water every day, and even more if you partake in any exercise.

Cut out the alcohol

It should go without saying – but unfortunately, it needs underlining! If you are drinking alcohol before going to bed, the chances are that you will end up dehydrated, and perhaps even develop a hangover while you sleep. A bedtime tipple every once in a while shouldn’t do you too much harm, but you really need to make sure that it doesn’t turn into a habit. In fact, if you do start relying on alcohol to calm you down at night when you don’t have a drink, your body will scream for it. And guess how that might present itself? That’s right – a nasty headache keeping you awake at night. So, take it easy on the alcohol, and if you do have a drink or two, make sure you top up with water before going to bed.

Ultimately, the headaches that wake you up at night might feel terrible, be incredibly painful, and start impacting your life. The good news is that it is highly unlikely anything severe or unmanageable wrong with you. With a little thought and a few lifestyle changes, you should be able to eliminate the problem. Good luck!

 

Waking in the Middle of the Night – Adult Version

I’ve talked a lot about children waking in the middle of the night and now want to discuss some tips for adults who have this same issue.  In fact, some of my clients have this issue once their children start sleeping through the night, they are so used to waking for their children, they continue to do so even once though their children are not.

The Myth of Sleeping Through the Night

None of us sleep through the night without any wakeups.  We all have partial awakenings when we are switching through sleep cycles.  If you are normally a good sleeper, you probably don’t even realize you wake up.  You may briefly wake, roll over, and fall right back to sleep.  Every 90 – 110 minutes, we have slight awakenings.  Every 3 – 4 hours we have more pronounced awakenings.  This may be the time you get up to go to the bathroom, or maybe need a drink of water.  The problem becomes when you have these partial awakenings and then cannot fall back asleep afterwards.

Tips to Fall Back Asleep

Here are some tips to help you fall back asleep in the middle of the night:

  • Make sure your temperature stays fairly consistent through the night so you are comfortable.
  • Use white noise to block out outside noises and give your brain something to focus on.
  • Keep a pen and paper next to your bed to write down any important thoughts you have.
  • Keep a water bottle near your bed in case you are thirsty.
  • Do not turn on lights or electronics in the middle of the night.
  • Get blackout curtains if early morning sunlight disturbs you.
  • Do not look at the clock.
  • Relax.

Sleep Well,

Michelle

 

Need more help with your sleep?  Join our 5 week Sleep Your Way to Success Program and start sleeping well!

Toddler Challenges – Climbing

Just when you get your child on a good sleep schedule, they throw you another curve ball, like climbing out of their crib!  Or maybe your child was never a good sleeper and now you have a poor sleeper who can move about the house!  Either way, chances are you may need some tips to figure out how to deal with this stage.

While your first thought may be getting rid of the crib, it is actually better to try to keep them in it as long as possible.  If your child is throwing themselves out and there is a real danger of them getting hurt and you need to do something immediately (maybe you are reading this at 3AM and your child just started vaulting out), you may just want to pull the mattress out and put it in the floor in their room.  You may need to stay in there with them at the moment, but keep reading for some more longer term solutions.

Behavior Changes

One of the first things to do is to make it clear to your child that climbing out of the crib is not a behavior you will allow.  The difficulty in this is to react in a clear confident manner, but to not overreact.  Overreacting may make the child continue the behavior because they are getting attention and making Mommy or Daddy react!

Sleep Sacks and TShirts

Halo makes toddler sleep sacks which do have leg openings for walkers, but they also don’t allow the legs to open as wide, making it a little more difficult for children to climb over the crib.   Another thing that may help is putting your child is a long tshirt, which again makes it more difficult for them to lift their legs.  With that option though, they can always figure out how to lift the tshirt first, then climb out.

 

Baby Gates

Maybe your child climbs in and out of their crib during the day, but not yet at night.  My son did this, he and my daughter would play in the crib during the day.  I knew he could safely get in and out and so if he did do it in the middle of the night, I wasn’t too worried.  However, I did not want him wandering around the house in the middle of the night, so we put up a baby gate at his door.  (This also served to keep the dogs and cats out of his room!)  Once your child is walking, you may want to consider that they could climb out of the crib.  Be sure to child proof their room and take steps to keep them safe if they were to get out.

Tackling the Sleep Issues Themselves

If your child was never a good sleeper, this is a good time to get them sleeping!  What you don’t want is a non sleeper with the ability to move around their room and the house at night.  There are occasionally times where moving a child into a bed and out of the crib could cause them to sleep slightly better, but more often than not, things remain the same, or may even get worse.

Here are some posts to read to work on their sleep issues:

Toddler Naps

Bedtime Routines

My Child Wakes Too Early in the Morning

Top Sleep Tips for Preschoolers

And if you may need some more help, I can personally work with you to help your child sleep!  Check out my Sleep Services and Pricing page for more information.

Moving to a Bed

If it becomes a situation where you cannot keep your child in their crib, and there is a possibility they could hurt themselves either escaping or once they are out, here are some tips to make the move to a bed a little easier – Transitioning from A Crib to a Bed

Sleep Well!

No Sleep: Finding Peace and Quiet in a College Dorm

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Your student years should be all about getting that degree while managing your own finances. For many, the only road to this is through the infamous dorm room. Messy roommates, shared bathroom facilities, and food mysteriously disappearing from your fridge, the college experience can be tough on those who enjoy their privacy.

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It doesn’t have to be a nightmare, though, and with these brilliant tips, you’ll be able to speak up and find the peace you need to sleep and study. It will help you to become a better roommate as well while you’re at it, making your dorm-life a bit more manageable.

You don’t have to roommate with a friend

Cohabitation is complicated stuff, people, and the ones who manage it without any trouble are probably bottling up their frustration inside – or they’re just really calm people. They say you don’t truly know a person until you’ve lived with them and, although it may be true, it applies more to people’s negative sides.

Living together means that you’ll see their best sides as well as their worst – and they’ll see yours too.

It’s why we tend to get more annoyed at our siblings, parents, and partners when we live with them, compared to our friends who we see when we’re out and about. Take some time to consider if living with one of your close friends is the best idea; besides, you’ll be able to find and form great friendships with the strangers you end up living with as well.

It will be a lot easier to speak up and set boundaries from day one when you’re moving in with someone you don’t know – and their stingy attitude or loud music habits won’t catch you off guard. Read more about this in thoughtcatalog.com, by the way, if you need more convincing.

Don’t bring all your stuff

College is the perfect time for finding yourself and your own sense of style. By leaving most of your precious belongings behind, you’re allowing for this to happen while also limiting the chances of a messy roommate spilling ketchup all over your Edgar Allen Poe collection. Make a few investments, first of all, and get a decent mattress by looking at mattress.review; your bed is your sanctuary in the dorm, so treat it well.

Balance the relationship

One of the most important things you can do for yourself while living in a college dorm is to establish boundaries when it comes to your relationships. This applies to your roommate as well as the others living in the hall; respect each other’s privacy, find friends outside of the dorm as well, and make sure guests follow the rules when you have visitors.

Even though a roommate is great to have when you both need to navigate this new landscape, it’s important not to lean on each other too much. When you’re new to all of this, it’s almost too comforting to have someone who can keep you company and guide you through campus. Just keep in mind that it’s a balancing act and, even though you’re good friends, your roommate might not want your friends to sit on her bed and browse through her books.

Taking advantage of kindness and friendship is the kind of thing that leads to resentment later on.

The time you spend in a college dorm is a fantastic way to prepare you for absolutely nothing later in life. You’re not going to live like this again, waking up to smoke alarms going off as someone once again had to smoke in their room, stealing your leftover pizza, and doing shots in the kitchen.

This experience is for now only, and that’s why it’s so beautiful; in a few years, you’ll have your own space again, so enjoy the chaos while you can.