Health Conditions / Sleep Disorders

Why the Daylight Saving Time Change Might Make You Feel Crappy All Week

Why the Daylight Saving Time Change Might Make You Feel Crappy All Week

If this week already feels like a major struggle, you can probably blame the time change. Even though most of us seem to hate it, we still have to deal with daylight saving time—but hopefully only for a bit longer. The Senate recently voted to do away with the biannual time shifts, but the bill, the Sunshine Protection Act, has a few more legislative hoops to jump through before it could possibly (fingers crossed) go into effect in 2023.The clocks fell back an hour on November 6, so we technically got an “extra” hour of sleep yesterday. Though the promise of more shut-eye is always welcome, that’s not what’s actually happening for many people. In fact, according to a 2013 paper published in Sleep Medicine Reviews, “the cumulative effect of five consecutive days of earlier rise times following the autumn change suggests a net loss of sleep across the week.” (More on this in a bit.)That means your body and mind may feel the not-so-great effects of the time change this entire week. Scientists have likened the health consequences of seasonal time shifts to jet lag. When you fly to a region with a different time zone, for example, you may feel exhausted, moody, and generally out of it for a few days until your body syncs up with the new time zone. The same idea applies to changing the clocks—in either direction.Falling back an hour may not feel quite as brutal as springing forward (when we all lose an hour of sleep), but the autumn time change abruptly messes with your circadian rhythm, or the internal clock that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.In general, your body functions at its best when you stick to a consistent schedule, and any change to your circadian rhythm can throw things off and cause somewhat of a ripple effect. “Whether you’re springing forward or backward an hour, that change ends up being significant,” Kyle Baird, DO, associate medical director at the University of Colorado Department of Psychiatry, tells SELF.Studies suggest that when your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your mental health may take a bit of a hit, and you’re also more likely to have memory problems, attention issues, and slower reaction times. Again, transitioning in and out of daylight saving time can also impact your sleep, and there’s no shortage of evidence showing that when your sleep suffers, you’re more likely to feel moody.It’s widely believed that falling back equals more time to rest, but most people don’t actually sleep more or better, per the Sleep Medicine Reviews paper. When the clocks fall back in autumn, you’re more likely to have trouble falling asleep at bedtime and may wake up randomly throughout the night. Many people also tend to wake up earlier, and it can take an average of four to five days to adjust to the time change. People who are short sleepers—meaning they typically get less than 7.5 hours of sleep a night—and “morning people” experience more issues catching up to the new clock than night owls, the researchers concluded. But even people who typically sleep more than 8.5 hours a night may sleep less than they usually do when the clocks fall back an hour.

My Scary Narcolepsy Symptoms Finally Led Me to a Diagnosis

My Scary Narcolepsy Symptoms Finally Led Me to a Diagnosis

Eventually, I just…kind of stopped sleeping. Most days, I felt like a zombie with little control over my emotions. I hoped that a higher dose of anxiety medication would make everything better. It didn’t.And then the sleep attacks started: That sudden, all-consuming exhaustion I felt at the Emmy-planning meeting became a regular occurrence. It started happening two to three times per week, forcing me to take a nap wherever I could—once in a dark mailroom and sometimes on the concrete floor between rows of seats in the Academy theater. So when I got yet another message from my doctor that everything was fine, I was apoplectic.I concede that I didn’t live the “healthiest” lifestyle. I worked too much. I didn’t get enough exercise. Perhaps I ate too much cheese. But I couldn’t for the life of me believe that my habits caused… tiny child ghosts. That night, fueled by Ben & Jerry’s and red wine, I spiraled down a Google rabbit hole. I ugly-cried my way to the ends of the internet as I desperately searched for symptoms of a sleep disorder, mainly zeroing in on sleep apnea, since that was really the only one I’d heard of.Two days later, I returned to my doctor, prepared to lay out an Annalise Keating-level defense that something else was happening to my body. She stopped me—mid-opening remarks—and told me we were beyond our collective knowledge on sleep. Finally, with her concession, I was referred to a sleep specialist.Three months later, with the appropriate testing, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. Something I had never considered. The only familiarity I had with the disorder was from Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, in which the main character’s “date” falls asleep in her bowl of soup. The sleep specialist explained that narcolepsy doesn’t always look like the silly depictions we see on TV or in the movies. It often looks like my symptoms: excessive daytime sleepiness, fragmented sleep, hallucinations.The diagnosis was a relief—and marked a new journey. With narcolepsy you don’t get better; you get better at having narcolepsy. Four years later, I’m feeling pretty good. With some trial and error, my sleep specialist and I have found the right medication that curbs most of my symptoms—I take a daytime stimulant as well as a nighttime medication that helps me get deep sleep and stay asleep. (A silver lining of my diagnosis: It turns out that my anxiety issues stemmed from untreated narcolepsy, and have dissipated since I found the right treatment plan).I still get tired, but a daily 20-minute nap helps me feel more refreshed in the afternoon. Stress makes sleep attacks more likely, so I try to meditate every day. I’ve also gotten good at listening to my body: If fatigue starts to creep in, I won’t drive; if I’m struggling in the afternoons, I’ll try to schedule important meetings before lunch. I also noticed that sweets and simple carbohydrates make me sleepier during the day, so I typically save those for the evening. I still have bad days, but I have tools to get through them when they happen.

Here’s Why It Might Feel Like Your Heart Is Racing Super Fast

Here’s Why It Might Feel Like Your Heart Is Racing Super Fast

Sprinting through the final minutes of your run, the stressful seconds leading up to a big presentation, or watching Stranger Things alone in the dark: These are all times when you might feel like your heart rate won’t go down. But just going about your daily life shouldn’t lead to a racing heartbeat. Typically, your heart is part of a fine-tuned system that keeps the essential organ beating at a certain rhythm. So when the beats unexpectedly speed up, it’s understandable to feel concerned that something more serious might be happening to you.Your heart performs an incredible daily balancing act that’s crucial to keeping you alive and healthy. “The heart beats because of electricity,” Shephal Doshi, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells SELF. No, not the type that keeps your lights on, although that would be interesting. Instead, these are electrical impulses from a group of cells in your heart’s right atrium (chamber) that act like your own internal pacemaker. These cells, known as your sinoatrial (SA) node, tell your heart when and how to beat in order to send oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.Sometimes, your body can signal your heart to beat faster, and the SA node responds. Other times, signals start coming from other parts of the heart, causing it to speed up. Whatever the reason, a racing heart rate, or heart palpitations, can make you feel anxious, among other unpleasant symptoms.A racing heart rate has many potential causes, very few of which signal something life-threatening like a heart attack or heart failure. What is important, however, is how your racing heart makes you feel and how often this switch in pace happens. Here are the most common reasons it feels like your heart rate won’t go down—and when you should consider seeing a doctor.What is a “healthy” resting heart rate? | Common causes of a fast heart rate | When to see a doctorFirst, how do experts typically define a “healthy” heart rate?A “normal” or healthy resting heart rate for most adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, according to the US National Library of Medicine. Between these rates, your heart can pump the oxygen-rich blood it needs to your vital organs. If you’re very physically active—say, you’re an avid runner—you may find your resting heart rate is much lower (sometimes as low as 40 beats per minute). This is because exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, helps your heart work more efficiently, meaning it can squeeze out more blood at a slower rate, per the Mayo Clinic.A resting heart rate that’s consistently higher than 100 beats per minute or lower than 60 beats per minute (if you’re not an athlete) can signal an underlying health issue, according to the Mayo Clinic.Back to topWhat are the most common causes of a fast heart rate?Normally, your body’s systems run on autopilot, thanks to your autonomic nervous system, which regulates all the vital functions you don’t really need to think about. “This includes things like your heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, urination, and various gastrointestinal functions,” Brent Goodman, MD, a board-certified neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, tells SELF.Sometimes, though, certain lifestyle habits, situations, or even health conditions can cause your heart to start beating very rapidly or irregularly. Here are a few common culprits to keep on your radar.1. You’re feeling very stressed.Let’s be real: With everything going on in the world, there’s an extremely good chance you’re stressed right now. When you encounter something stressful, your body releases a surge of norepinephrine, also known as adrenaline, Camille Frazier-Mills, MD, a cardiologist at Duke Electrophysiology Clinic, tells SELF. Receptors in your heart respond to this trigger and can make your heart rate pick up.1If you can’t immediately solve whatever’s making you stressed (which is hard to do on a good day, let alone in the chaotic reality we live in), try deep breathing exercises to at least help you feel better in the moment. The Mayo Clinic suggests taking deep breaths through your nose so that you feel your stomach rise instead of your chest, and exhaling through your nose as well. Focus on your breath and the rise and fall of your abdomen throughout. (If you’re looking for a more detailed exercise to try, check out these relaxing deep breathing videos.)2. You’ve had a lot of caffeine.While most people can handle a certain level of caffeine just fine, overdoing it can make your heart rate speed up. “A bunch of patients come to see me with an elevated heart rate, then they tell me they drink multiple highly caffeinated beverages daily,” Dr. Mills-Frazier says. “They’re revving themselves up.” This is most likely to happen if you’ve had too much caffeine, but it could also happen in response to small amounts if you’re just sensitive to this stimulant.According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s technically safe for adults to have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, or around the amount in four or five cups of coffee. If that sounds like a lot to you, it may be, since there is a wide range in how sensitive certain people are to the effects of caffeine and in how fast it gets broken down in the body. Certain medications and health conditions may also make you more sensitive to caffeine, including being pregnant. Try cutting back on caffeine gradually to see if it reduces your racing heart (just don’t try to cut it out cold turkey if you rather not deal with the unpleasant side effects of caffeine withdrawal). If that doesn’t help, get in touch with your doctor.3. You smoke.Smokers (tobacco, cannabis, marijuana, you name it) tend to have higher resting heart rates than those who don’t smoke, according to a 2015 study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. Although doctors don’t exactly know why this happens, an increase in heart rate from smoking could come with other cardiovascular complications, including a heart attack.24. You have cold- or flu-like symptoms, like a fever.If your pounding heart is accompanied by typical cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, coughing, and sneezing, a viral illness might be the likely culprit. Battling any type of infection requires your body to work harder than usual, and that includes making your heart beat faster in order to fight for homeostasis (its usual stable condition) and kick the infection to the curb, Dr. Mills-Frazier says.

Is It Really That Bad If I Let My Pet Sleep in My Bed?

Is It Really That Bad If I Let My Pet Sleep in My Bed?

If you regularly wake up with your face nuzzled against a furry rump, it’s probably safe to say your bedtime routine includes beckoning a Fido or Fluffy into bed for a snooze. Dogs and cats are no strangers to the comforts of human beds, according to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings,1 with around half of pet owners saying they allow their cat or dog to sleep in their bedroom. (It’s me, I’m pet owners.)But all it takes is a what-the-hell-are-you-doing stare from a new partner to realize that not everyone feels comfortable inviting a furry friend into their personal sleep space. Whether or not to co-sleep with your animals is a controversial question that can set off all sorts of debates between bedfellows of the human sort. Some may even argue that sharing a bed with a dog or cat can be hazardous to your health.So let’s settle this once and for all—with the help of an infectious disease specialist.What could happen if you sleep with your pet?Generally speaking, letting a dog or cat sleep in your bed is safe for most adults, Luis Ostrosky, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann UT Health Houston, tells SELF. In fact, Dr. Ostrosky is a member of the dog-in-bed club himself. Grover, his family’s Airedale terrier, gets cozy under the covers nightly. However, Dr. Otrosky cautions that there are a few things you should keep in mind if you do choose to share a sleeping surface with your pet.The big one is harmful bacteria: Though it’s fairly rare, pets can transmit certain bacteria to their owners. There are a few to keep in mind so that you can see a doctor if you suspect something is up. If your pet licks a cut or scrape on your skin, you could get a pasteurella multocida skin infection,2 says Dr. Ostrosky. Pasteurella multocida will cause the injury to become swollen, inflamed, and tender. There’s also capnocytophaga, he explains, which can spread to your skin from close contact with a pet and may cause blisters around the wound, pus drainage, fever, and chills. People who have compromised immune systems due to cancer treatment or immunosuppressant medications are at a higher risk of complications from these types of bacteria—especially infections from capnocytophaga, which can quickly progress and even become fatal, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).And even though Fluffy licking your arm might seem sweet, he could still be carrying the bacteria staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can be passed to humans. MRSA can cause deep, infected abscesses on your skin.Last up is a parasite called toxoplasma gondii, which could be an unwelcome gift to people who cozy up with their cats at bedtime. It’s actually a pretty common parasite—11% of people in the U.S. over the age of six carry this parasite without having symptoms.3 However, this parasite can lead to an infection called toxoplasmosis, which causes fever, chills, headaches, and other neurological symptoms. Again, people with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing this kind of complication. And if you’re pregnant and a cat owner, you should talk with your ob-gyn about toxoplasmosis, as this type of infection can affect the fetus, says Dr. Ostrosky.

11 Possible Reasons You Always Feel Cold

11 Possible Reasons You Always Feel Cold

That being said, it’s still worth getting checked out if you’re cold all the time but don’t feel like anything else is amiss, Dr. Besson says. Your doctor will likely look at your medical records and ask about how often you’re cold, along with teasing out any other symptoms you may not have noticed, Dr. Vyas says. That can help determine what kind of testing might be necessary to land on a diagnosis, if any.2. You have hypothyroidism.Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid does not produce sufficient levels of the hormones that regulate your metabolism, which in turn slows it down, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can happen for various reasons, the most common being Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that prompts your immune system to attack your thyroid, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).Since a slow thyroid affects a bunch of metabolic functions, hypothyroidism can cause a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, unintended weight gain, constipation, dry skin, thinning hair, a depressed mood, heavy or irregular periods, and—that’s right—an increased sensitivity to cold, per the NIDDK. Dr. Besson points to fatigue as the usual tip-off, so if your energy levels are dragging and no amount of fuzzy sweaters can keep you warm, you should definitely mention that to your doctor.Treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking a daily dose of a synthetic replacement for thyroid hormone (thyroxine or T4) called levothyroxine. You’ll also need ongoing blood tests to ensure your hormone levels are up to par once you start treatment, so it may take some time to find the right dose for you.13. You have anemia.Anemia is a blood disorder that happens when you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body, according to the American Society of Hematology (ASH). There are many types of anemia, but the most common one stems from iron deficiency, according to the Mayo Clinic. When you don’t have enough iron in your blood, you can’t make sufficient hemoglobin, a protein that allows your red blood cells to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide. This leads to less circulation to your limbs, causing you to feel colder, Dr. Vyas says, particularly in your hands and feet. Other common anemia symptoms include weakness, fatigue, an irregular heartbeat, paler skin, chest pain, and headaches.2Anemia can also be the result of your body making too few red blood cells, destroying too many red blood cells, or losing too much blood for some reason, the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains. Blood loss due to heavy periods can cause anemia, as can pregnancy, which increases your blood volume. (This is why iron is a key component of prenatal vitamins.) Other forms of anemia are connected with deficiencies in folate and vitamin B-12, which are necessary for producing red blood cells. Genetics can also be to blame, such as with the chronic illness sickle cell anemia.The cause of anemia determines the treatment, the goal of which is to increase your levels of healthy red blood cells by addressing the underlying condition or deficiency. This can involve taking iron supplements, making dietary changes to get more folate or vitamin B-12, or more intensive methods such as blood transfusions if you have a chronic condition.24. You have Raynaud’s disease.Raynaud’s disease is a condition that causes your extremities to become cold, discolored (red or blue), numb, and even painful when you’re in cold temperatures or stressed out. “It happens because your blood vessels are constricting,” Dr. Besson explains.

The Senate Voted to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent. What Does That Mean for Your Health?

The Senate Voted to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent. What Does That Mean for Your Health?

On Sunday, all U.S. states (with the exception of Hawaii and Arizona) resumed daylight saving time (DST), moving their clocks forward by one hour. But thanks to a new Senate decision, this might not happen again. On Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation that would make DST permanent from 2023, meaning we would no longer need to change our clocks twice a year. The bill, titled The Sunshine Protection Act, was passed by unanimous consent (when the legislative process is accelerated through the agreement of all representatives or senators). The House of Representatives still needs to pass the bill before it is given to President Biden for sign-off. There is still no word from the White House on whether the President is in favor of the bill. DST was rolled out in 1966 as a means to conserve energy by allowing for more daylight in the evening. But over the years, health experts, sleep advocates, and the general public have pushed for there to be a year-round time due to the sudden time change having a range of potential adverse impacts, including more traffic accidents and even a link to increased heart health issues. According to an Associated Press-National Opinion Research Center poll in 2019, 38% of people aged 45 and older and 22% of people under 45 said they would rather not change their clocks and would prefer year-round daylight savings. Between 2015 and 2019, 29 states introduced legislation to scrap the twice-annual changing of clocks. Last week, the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on the matter. “It’s a weekend that makes a lot of us unhappy. The loss of that one hour of sleep seems to impact us for days afterwards. It also can cause havoc on the sleeping patterns of our kids and our pets. This is all an inconvenience, but unfortunately the changing of our clocks can have impacts on our health,” said committee chairman Frank Pallone. But is this true? Does changing the clocks really have a significant impact on our health? We spoke to Lourdes DelRosso, MD, a board-certified sleep physician and associate professor at the University of Washington, to find out more. There’s significant scientific evidence pointing to daylight saving time increasing the odds of issues like cardiovascular emergencies, traffic accidents, and emergency department visits, Dr. DelRosso tells SELF. In 2020, the University of Colorado published a study in Current Biology analyzing 732,835 fatal car accidents in the U.S. from 1996 to 2017, ultimately finding that the risk of fatal car accidents rose by 6% in the five workdays after the spring DST transition. The risk was highest in the morning and in western states. “Our results support the theory that abolishing time changes completely would improve public health and reduce geographical health disparities,” the researchers concluded. And a 2018 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association analyzed hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation (an irregular, rapid heartbeat that can lead to blood clots in the heart) from 2009 to 2016, finding a significant link between the beginning of DST and increased hospital admissions for this health issue.  The reason why these negative impacts can stem from the changing of the clocks may come down to “circadian misalignment contributing to sleep debt,” Dr. DelRosso tells SELF. Circadian misalignment refers to a disconnect with the sleep-wake cycle (our biological patterns of sleeping for around eight hours a night and having around 16 hours of being awake). Your circadian rhythm governs a lot of physiological processes, so this misalignment can potentially have a big impact, as the data show. And sleep debt happens when you don’t get enough sleep over multiple days, so the lack of sleep starts building up over time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains. According to the CDC, as sleep debt builds, the normal functioning of the body and brain “deteriorate,” which helps to explain the increased number of traffic accidents which occur after the clocks change (along with less dire but still important issues like generally feeling exhausted). Ultimately, it’s not yet clear how likely the U.S. is to do away with changing our clocks twice a year. But moving to a year-round national clock would mean one less factor to disrupt people’s sleep-wake cycles, which experts hope will make life safer overall.Related:

33 Possible Reasons Why You Always Feel So Damn Tired

33 Possible Reasons Why You Always Feel So Damn Tired

Depression is a serious medical condition, so it’s important to seek help. If you have thoughts of self-harm or feel like you’re in a crisis, seek emergency medical attention or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.Or you could be dealing with anxiety.Depression isn’t the only mental health issue that can lead to feeling tired all the time. Things like everyday stress and worry can also contribute, but clinical anxiety is persistent and can lead to more prolonged fatigue. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it can leave you exhausted and plagued with sleep disturbances.Think about it: All of your energy is being channeled into feeling on-edge, which can really take a toll on your overall well-being. “Anxiety in particular can be draining,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy. D., tells SELF. If you suspect that you’re suffering from anxiety, it’s a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional if you can, as they will help you develop coping methods that can help you feel better.Sleep can also be an issue if you have an adjustment disorder, which basically means you feel 10 times the amount of stress as other people when experiencing difficult situations, like divorce, having a baby, or losing a job.You might have an autoimmune disease.Autoimmune diseases, conditions in which your own immune system mistakenly attacks parts of your body, can create a whole host of wildly different symptoms. One of the common ones, though, is fatigue, according to a 2019 study published in Frontiers of Immunology.8 These conditions can include but are not limited to:Rheumatoid arthritisLupusType 1 diabetesPsoriasisPsoriatic arthritisMultiple sclerosisIt could be a GI disorder.So, technically these are also autoimmune diseases, but they specifically affect your digestive system and can also cause constant exhaustion. Celiac disease is one possibility, where the immune system attacks the small intestine when you eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley (basically all the bread).Some studies suggest as many as 100% of all people with celiac disease name fatigue as one of their main symptoms.7 You probably already know that people with celiac disease can get diarrhea, gas, and vomiting if they ingest gluten, but it can also cause people to feel weak or fatigued even without gastrointestinal issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you notice you don’t feel great after having wheat, barley, or rye products, talk to your doctor about getting tested for celiac disease.Another possibility is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These affect the GI tract, causing open sores. Fatigue is a very common symptom of both conditions, according to the National Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and could be due to a number of factors, including inflammation in the body.You could have another chronic condition.Autoimmune diseases aren’t the only suspects when it comes to your health and feelings of exhaustion. Other types of chronic health conditions can also cause varying levels of fatigue. Things like fibromyalgia (a condition that causes muscle pain and tenderness), type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and COPD can also be filed under energy-zapping conditions.It could be chronic fatigue syndrome.Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that affects up to an estimated 2.5 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, this condition causes severe instances of fatigue and exhaustion, especially after physical activity, that cannot otherwise be explained. Unfortunately, doctors don’t have a definitive test or treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, meaning there’s still lots to be learned about diagnosing and treating this condition.You could have a thyroid condition.Your thyroid helps impact several important functions of your body, including how fast or slow your heart beats and how well your bodily movements flow, Piper says. Having an underactive thyroid, a condition known as hypothyroidism, can slow down your bodily functions and leave you feeling tired, she says. On the flip side, hyperthyroidism, which is when your thyroid is overactive, speeds everything up and can cause insomnia and an inner restlessness that makes it tough to relax—leaving you wiped out as a result.It might be anemia.Anemia happens when you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. The result can be shortness of breath, dizziness, pale-appearing skin, problems tolerating exercise, and—you guessed it—fatigue. People with uteruses are especially vulnerable to anemia because of additional blood loss from their period.9

Here’s What It Really Means When You Talk in Your Sleep

Here’s What It Really Means When You Talk in Your Sleep

Stress is another contributing factor, according to Dr. Dimitriu. This is most likely caused by disturbing the natural depth of your sleep. “Whenever something wakes you, even slightly, you are prone to do something strange—as you are half asleep—sleep talking is one of those things, and sleep walking is another,” he says. Certain medications (either sedating or stimulating), anxiety, or just being really tired can sometimes trigger an episode of sleep talking in some people but not in others, Dr. Dimitriu adds.According to the Cleveland Clinic, depression, daytime drowsiness, alcohol, and fever can cause sleep talking, too. Underlying medical conditions could also cause sleep deprivation, leading to sleep talking. This includes sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep.The good news in all of this? “There is no danger to random isolated episodes of sleep talking,” Dr. Dimitriu says. However, if it begins to occur frequently, or there are other symptoms, such as insomnia, waking up several times per night, or being sleepy by day, he says it may be worth speaking with your doctor, and considering a sleep study. For most people, though, sleep talking is a short-lived phenomenon and no treatment is really necessary.So, do sleep talkers tell the truth?Maybe it’s because we’ve seen too many movies or want to coax secrets out of our loved ones, but many nighttime conversationalists have one burning question: “When you talk in your sleep, are you telling the truth?”While sleep talking parallels awake talking for semantics, syntax, and turn-taking in conversation, according to a 2017 study published in the journal Sleep,6 it’s not a reliable method of getting someone to spill their dirty secrets. Partly because you are in an unconscious state simply expressing words and noises. However, researchers from the study did discover a few interesting tidbits: The most frequent word spoken during sleep talking was “No,” and an interrogation-type tone was found in 26% of speech episodes.How to stop sleep talkingIf you’re unsure about why you’re talking in your sleep, it might be a bit challenging to figure out how to stop. While no official sleep talking treatment protocol exists, eliminating or reducing the conditions triggering it is a good place to start. And your first order of business if you want to curb your nightly chatter is to overhaul your sleep hygiene (a fancy word for your pre-sleep habits).“With my patients, I increase their overall sleep and decrease things that are disrupting their sleep—so decrease caffeine, decrease alcohol, decrease stress before bed,” Dr. Breus says. “Those types of things can then really help make the situation literally go away by itself.”“Regular bed and wake times cannot be underscored in their ability to improve and stabilize sleep,” Dr. Dimitriu says. Also, make sure the bed is comfortable and cool, and the sleeping area is dark. “If anything bothers you at night, it could wake you or cause something strange to occur when you are half awake,” he adds. Being really tired or sleep-deprived can also cause sleep talking to occur, so make sure you get enough sleep (ideally seven to nine hours) consistently.

16 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep Faster

16 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep Faster

For example, you can try progressive muscle relaxation (which you can even do in bed!). This simply involves tensing your muscles and relaxing them one body part at a time, SELF previously reported. First, try scrunching and tensing your toes tightly for about 5 to 10 seconds. Then, release them and feel the difference in the sensations. Slowly move up your body, muscle by muscle, to your calves, thighs, and so on. (Find a full list of grounding techniques for anxiety here).9. Do some gentle bedtime yoga or stretching.Yes, vigorous exercise before bed might keep you up, but consider grabbing your yoga mat and doing some gentle exercises to help you relax before bed. Why? Static stretching encourages deep breathing, which encourages your relaxation response, SELF previously reported. Looking for a few ideas? We have a 5-minute bedtime stretching routine you can try tonight.10. Avoid dozing off during a TV show.Remember, as the sun goes down, your pineal gland begins to pump melatonin into your bloodstream. When you keep any lights on, even if it’s just a seemingly small bit of light emitted from your iPad screen while streaming your favorite TV show, it can interfere with this melatonin signaling and make it a little more challenging to fall asleep fast, SELF previously reported. And even if you do feel knocked out, there’s also some evidence that the variances in TV light throughout the night can keep you from getting quality sleep.11. Put an end to your “doom scrolling” habit.We’ve already discussed how light from your phone can interfere with melatonin production, but we haven’t addressed how scrolling through your phone, reading new coronavirus updates, checking email, or chatting with your friend in Hong Kong can keep your mind active.Dr. Malow suggests turning off your phone and other devices a full hour before bed to help you wind down. You can also set your phone to go into sleep mode or get a screen for your computer that blocks blue light, she says. Some people also find it helpful to wear blue light-blocking glasses in the evening to reduce eye strain, too.If you find that racing thoughts or mindless phone use is to blame, consider switching it out for a good book before bed.12. Eliminate other light, too.While you’re at, get rid of all light sources where you can. “If we have too much light at the wrong time, it can tell your body to wake up and stay awake,” Dr. Augelli explains. “So we have to be careful about the timing of our light consumption.”Perhaps you can get curtains that block street light or get a door stopper to prevent light from coming in through the gap. If you can’t control the amount of light in your room, think about getting an eye mask to help ensure it’s as dark as possible in your sleeping environment.13. Consider the sound quality in your room.Much like light can keep you awake, sounds—like from your TV or your loud neighbors—can keep you up longer than you’d like. If ambient sounds are an issue, try to use a fan or white noise machine to help alleviate that. The consistent whir of a sound machine can help soften the impact of other erratic noise that could keep you awake, the CDC suggests. If that doesn’t help, earplugs are another option to consider.14. Regulate the temperature in your room.Light gets a lot of credit for encouraging your circadian rhythm to do its job, but temperature also plays a role. As SELF previously reported, a room that’s between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit tends to be most people’s sleepy-time sweet spot. If you can’t regulate the temperature in your room, consider switching up your bedding or sleeping in lighter (or heavier) pajamas to get your ideal sleep temperature.15. Stop watching the clock.Even if you’re having trouble sleeping, quit checking the time. This will make you feel more anxious (and awake, if you’re using your phone), which only makes it harder to fall back asleep. If you find yourself doing this often, try turning the clock away from you or keeping it out of reach so you’re not tempted to watch the time pass, the Cleveland Clinic suggests.16. Do something calming if you find yourself tossing and turning.If you’re tired but can’t sleep, it’s natural to move around in bed to bide your time. But this isn’t very productive. More often than not, tossing and turning leads to frustration that works against falling asleep faster. Instead of huffing and puffing, try getting out of bed and leaving your bedroom for about 20 minutes to do something relaxing, the Mayo Clinic suggests. Read, listen to soothing music, or engage in another calming habit until you’re feeling more tired, then climb back into bed and give it another try.Do I need to see a doctor to figure out why I can’t sleep at night?There are so many reasons why you might have trouble falling asleep fast (and staying asleep once do nod off). But there’s a difference between tossing and turning due to lifestyle factors you can change and feeling tired or not sleeping because of a sleep disorder, like insomnia, narcolepsy, or sleep apnea.

8 Possible Reasons You Can’t Sleep at Night—And What to Do About It

8 Possible Reasons You Can’t Sleep at Night—And What to Do About It

Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, means you have trouble falling and staying asleep at least three times a week for three months or longer. It can also be triggered by things like never-ending stress, difficult emotions you haven’t worked through, or constant travel that’s throwing your schedule out of whack. However, this type of insomnia can present as a side effect to a deeper issue as well, like an underlying health condition, medication plan, or substance use.What causes insomnia?Let’s dive deeper into the most common reasons you may be missing out on sleep:1. You’re anxious about falling asleep.“In some ways, insomnia is like an anxiety disorder about not getting enough sleep,” Jason Ong, Ph.D., director of behavioral sleep medicine at SleepCharge by Nox Health and adjunct associate professor of sleep medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. “Anxiety about sleep and the attempts to try and make sleep happen actually perpetuate the problem by inadvertently disrupting your body’s regulation of sleep.”A common response is to try to fix the issue by trying harder to fall asleep. However, moves like hopping in bed when you believe you should be sleepy (but aren’t) just turn up the pressure. In turn, you tend to feel even more restless and awake.2. You have an off-kilter sleep schedule.If you’re a jetsetter traveling across time zones for work, for example, or a shift worker trying to sleep during the day, disturbed sleep could follow. The root of the problem is known as circadian misalignment, or trying to sleep at times that don’t match your internal body clock, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle, says Dr. Ong.3. You’re stressed to the max.An overwhelming work schedule, looming debt, caregiving, the loss of a loved one—any number of stressful life events could trigger insomnia. That’s because chronic stress flicks on your fight-or-flight response, Ash Nadkarni, M.D., an associate psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, tells SELF. This cues a flood of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. When your stress doesn’t subside and that “on” switch gets stuck, these hormones keep surging through your body at night to keep you alert, blocking your ability to relax and ease into sleep.4. You have a mental health condition.Insomnia is a symptom of many psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). While the relationship is complicated and more research is needed, researchers hypothesize the link is due to changes like a heightened stress response, issues with neurotransmitters or chemical messengers like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, plus associated problems with the internal body clock and sleep cycle, says Dr. Nadkarni.5. Or you have another underlying health condition.This brings us back to that “canary in the coal mine” comment: Insomnia may stem from numerous health problems including other sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, or sleep apnea, chronic pain due to conditions like arthritis or headaches, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders such as heartburn or GERD, hormone fluctuations during your period or due to thyroid disease, or even neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, per the Cleveland Clinic.6. You’re taking medications or drugs that keep you up.Insomnia can also be an unwanted side effect of certain medications or drugs. Stimulants, for example, cause a release of certain neurotransmitters, which in turn may disrupt your ability to fall and stay asleep, says Dr. Nadkarni. Others cause a change or reduction in sleep quality.

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