Trouble sleeping may be linked to a bigger problem

We all have those nights, when you toss and turn and wake up completely exhausted.

For Mike Williamson of Lincoln, those nights became a constant.

“I’d go to sleep and fall asleep right away and it just seemed like at 2:30/3 in the morning I would wake up and soon as I would wake up the brain would just start thinking about what the day’s gonna hold,” Williamson said.

He went to his doctor and found a temporary solution, now taking Tylenol or Advil PM every night to get some rest, but it doesn’t always work.

“I mean you can get a full nights sleep but you wake up and you feel like you just ran a marathon,” Williamson said.

Dr. Aaron Robinson at CHI Health Ear, Nose and Throat Nebraska says there are a plethora of reasons people have trouble sleeping.

“Sometimes it is a sleep study, sometimes it’s other things like Restless Leg Syndrome, where your legs just kind of move and you can’t get comfortable, sometimes its true insomnia, which can come from a lot of things,” Dr. Robinson said.

A big issue that’s incredibly common: sleep apnea.

“You may sleep for a few minutes or hours, but then when you have that episode when you stop breathing for a few seconds, you gasp for breath, and you wake up and get more oxygen in your brain and go back to sleep again,” Dr. Robinson said, “So as we sleep our body relaxes on purpose so we can get rested, and as we relax the throat tissues can collapse and block off our airways.”

One way to get to the root of your sleeping problems is doing a sleep study, which is something Williamson said he’d be willing to try.

“That is something that I would like to look into further, but I’m not sure how to do that, what resources are out there,” Williamson said.

Dr. Robinson advised the best place to start is by asking your primary care doctor what studies are available and where to go.

But even so, Dr. Robinson says the best solution to fight that next day drowsiness is to simply get more sleep.

Avoid screens about 30 minutes to an hour before bed, taking some time to wind down, and make your bedroom the place where you know you’re going to sleep.

Sleep studies are available to do either at home or at a hospital here in Lincoln. For more information, talk to your doctor.

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