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Your Seemingly Normal Sleep Disturbances Could Be Signals For These 5 Health Conditions

Have you noticed how much your sleep is impacted when you’re unwell? From running back and forth to the loo, waking up in cold sweats and even being kept awake with coughing fits due to a nasty cold, our sleep often gets a fair beating when we’re unwell.

It definitely follows, then, that the way we sleep can tell us a story about how healthy we are, and which difficulties it’s facing.

In fact, according to Google trend data, the search term sleep health conditions has received a 8.900% uplift in searches in the past 3 months alone. Now, Mike Kocsis, Medical Case Manager at Balance My Hormones, has shared the 5 most common sleeping disturbances and how they may signal a health condition.

The sleep disturbances that could be signalling health problems

Hormonal insomnia

One form of insomnia, hormonal insomnia, is a result of fluctuating hormones and since hormones are closely linked to your sleep cycle, if they are disrupted, it can lead to sleep disturbances.

If you’re experiencing persistent insomnia, you may have low levels of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone produced by the brain which regulates our internal body clocks, and our sleep. Melatonin can reduce with age and reductions in melatonin have been linked to dementia, Type 2 Diabetes and mood fluctuations.

A medical professional can test the body’s level of melatonin via a blood, urine, or saliva test.

Ongoing fatigue

Low levels of the hormone progesterone interrupt the body’s deep sleep cycle and can cause insomnia, night sweats and sleep apnoea.

This is because progesterone plays an essential role in sleep hygiene as the hormone calms the brain and is even referred to as the body’s natural anti-depressant. It stimulates the brain’s GABA receptors, providing a soothing effect which is ideal for sleeping well.

To check your levels of progesterone, ask your GP to provide a blood test. If levels are low, a hormone replacement may be prescribed.

Diabetes

Many people who live with Type 2 diabetes experience sleep disruption. This is due to unstable blood sugar levels, which, if too low, can cause insomnia and fatigue and if too high, cause a person to frequently urinate.

A lack of sleep increases the hunger hormone ghrelin and suppresses the hormone leptin that lets us know we are full. Therefore, sleep deprivation can cause a person to experience frequent hunger pains and crave sugar. This is especially common in those with type 2 Diabetes.

If sleep disruption is leading you to crave sugary foods, experience an increase in hunger and urinate more frequently, a doctor can test for diabetes by conducting a blood test.

High blood pressure

Studies have shown that those with high blood pressure often experience insomnia.

High blood pressure is the result of high force being used to pump blood though the veins. This places stress on the vessels and can cause headaches, breathing difficulties and even pains across the chest.

If you are experiencing insomnia that simply will not shift, this could be a signal that you have high blood pressure. To reach a diagnosis, several pharmacists can now monitor your blood pressure along with your GP.

Overactive thyroid

Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) sees that the thyroid gland over-produces thyroid hormones. The hormones made by the thyroid impact the body’s temperature, heart rate and even weight.

Imbalances in the thyroid can cause sleeping problems. Often, a person with an overactive thyroid experiences mood swings, nervousness and surges in anxiety which often lead to poor sleep hygiene.

Both difficulty falling and staying asleep is common and sufferers often find themselves laying awake for several hours with symptoms of anxiety.

A blood test is an effective way to test the body’s thyroids.

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