We’re all familiar with the bleary-eyed feeling that follows a bad night’s sleep. But when the desperate need to catch some sleep starts getting in the way of your daily life, a real problem may be lurking beneath the surface. According to the Straits Times, Singapore General Hospital says their sleep disorders unit has seen 20 per cent rise in number of patients over past three years. That means more and more Singaporeans are suffering from sleep disorders. Asking yourself these six questions will help you figure out if you need to seek help for your troubled slumber:
1. How do I know if I have a sleep disorder?
You might have a sleep disorder if:
- Your snoring disturbs your bed partner.
- You have trouble falling asleep at night more than three times a week.
- You wake up often during the night.
- You feel tired throughout the day.
- You find yourself falling asleep while driving, at work or in class.
- You have an itchy, crawly feeling in your legs.
- You wake up with a headache or a dry/sore throat.
2. Do I fall asleep inappropriately throughout the day?
If you’re getting a full seven hours of sleep each night and you still can’t keep your peepers open during everyday activities like driving, working, or eating, something’s up.
3. Do I have difficulty falling or staying asleep on a daily basis?
Occasionally, there will be times when the stress of the day will keep your eyelids cranked open at night. But if snoozing has become a constant losing battle, then you might be struggling with insomnia and not even know it.
4. Do I make gasping or choking sounds when I sleep?
You should be concerned if you find yourself having trouble breathing in the wee hours of the night. You may have obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing disorder in which your airway collapses while you’re asleep.
5. Am I unable to maintain a regular sleep schedule?
We all have an internal clock that keeps our sleeping patterns in check throughout the day and night. It’s called a circadian rhythm and if your snooze patterns are all over the place, a circadian rhythm sleep disorder may be to blame.
6. Is there anything I can do to sleep better on my own?
The following guidelines have been proven to be critical in establishing healthy sleep patterns:
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Always sleep in a bed in a dark, quiet room.
- Give yourself time to unwind from daily activities to help clear your mind.
- Follow the same “getting ready for bed” routine every night.
- Get regular daily exercise.
- Don’t eat within four hours of going to bed.
- Avoid all caffeine six hours before bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco two hours before bedtime.