Can’t sleep? Learn about sleep disorder causes
Do you wake up at night feeling like you can’t breathe? Does your partner say you snore or stop breathing during the night? Do you wake up frequently to go to the washroom? Or do you awaken in the night and can’t get back to sleep?
These are all warning signs that something is not quite right with your sleeping patterns. They are signals that you may be suffering from a sleep disorder.
What causes sleep disorders?
There are many conditions that can cause a sleep disorder.
- Obstructed airways: Your airway can be obstructed by the position of your tongue while you sleep. This is ofen caused by a face, ear, neck and jaw pain. A TMJ disorder can also cause snoring and sleep problems because an unstable jaw does not hold your tongue in the correct position while you sleep, blocking your airway.
- Excess weight: If you are carrying excess weight, you can have more soft tissues in your mouth and throat. This can lead to snoring or sleep apnea because, as your throat muscles relax, the extra soft tissue can block your airway.
- Genetics: Studies suggest that sleep apnea can run in some families. That’s because some of the risk factors for are related to physical characteristics you are born with. These include:
- Being male
- A large tongue, tonsils, adenoids or pharynx
- A small jawbone
- A thick neck
- A deviated septum
- Teeth grinding: Nocturnal Bruxism is the term used for teeth grinding that occurs while you sleep. It is related to sleep apnea because it can be a protective response to airway closure. When your airway collapses, teeth clenching or grinding stiffens your hypopharynx to keep your airway open. Depression medication, specifically SSRIs and ADHD drugs can also lead to Bruxism. So can excessive smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Stress: A very common sleep disorder cause is stress. Stress can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, as well as impact the quality of your sleep. Stress can cause or worsen sleep disorders.
- Medications: Some kind of the following medications can contribute to a sleep disorder:
- Drugs that treat high blood pressure
- Oral contraceptives
- Inhaled respiratory drugs
- Diet pills
- ADHA drugs
Take Our Sleep Disorder Questionnaire
Schedule A Sleep Disorder Evaluation
How do you resolve a sleep disorder?
The first step to take to return back to healthy sleep patterns is to undergo a sleep study. These are usually performed in a lab under the supervision of a sleep specialist. Once the cause of your sleep disorder has been determined, you can seek treatment.
If the cause is dental, such as a misaligned bite, a dentist can help with oral appliance therapy. A dental sleep device can move your jaw into the correct position while you sleep, helping to keep your airway open.