health

'Don't just try to push on': The 5 sleep problems you should never ignore.

You and sleep. How are you both getting along? Not... great? Don't worry - it's not just you.

According to a report by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), a whopping 60 per cent of us struggle to sleep three or more times per week. That's a lot of people not getting their recommended shut eye.

And it's such an important thing, too!

Watch: How to sleep again in four simple steps. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

While a bad night of sleep might seem like NBD (omg get off our backs!), if you're finding that you can't fix it by tweaking some small habits, it may be a sign you need to seek some professional help.

Yes, really!

Because regularly having a shitty sleep could actually be doing some serious long-term harm to your overall health. 

Short-term effects of low quality and quantity of sleep include things like mood swings and lack of focus - but in the long-run it can also really affect your wellbeing. 

We're talking high blood pressure, diabetes, memory loss and heart failure... yikes.

So, it could be time to take a look at your sleep issues and speak with someone, rather than pretending it's all okay.

Below, we look at some of the top sleep problems you should never ignore.

1. You constantly find it hard to fall asleep.

Do you find it hard to fall asleep, like.... every single night? According to experts, there are a whole range of different factors that might be making it difficult. 

First off is the whole scrolling on your phone thing. Not only does your phone emit blue light (which suppresses melatonin), but staring at a phone stimulates your brain and delays REM sleep. 

Not ideal.

Insomnia is another common disorder, which means you have trouble both falling asleep and staying asleep.

While many people will experience short-term insomnia (lasting for a few days or weeks), others will experience chronic insomnia - which can last for months on end.

Another common cause is a condition called restless legs syndrome. Heard of it before?

ADVERTISEMENT

According to Mayo Clinic, this condition is characterised by the uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation.

It can also make your legs twitch and kick throughout the night, making staying asleep really bloody difficult.

2. You don't sleep through the night.

Waking up frequently throughout the night could mean many different things - however, one of the more serious triggers is sleep apnea. This is basically a disorder where your airway closes as you sleep - causing breathing to stop and start. 

Sounds 11/10 terrifying, we know.

If your partner or roomie says you snore loudly and you always feel tired even after a full night's sleep - you might want to get checked out and see a doctor.

Image: Getty 

Other potential causes include things like acid reflux (where stomach acid flows back up your throat), teeth grinding (where you unconsciously clench your teeth in your sleep), as well as various concerns we mentioned before such as insomnia and restless legs syndrome.

As we said earlier, the list of causes is many and varied - so it's best checking in with a professional and getting an evaluation of your sleeping patterns to find out what's causing you to wake so often and how you can stop it.

3. You always need some form of medication to get to sleep.

Relying on over-the-counter medication to get to sleep every night isn't a good time. 

Not only does it mean you're not getting to the core of the issue, but taking OTC medication for a long period of time will eventually make your body build up a tolerance to it. 

Meaning? You'll gradually rely on more and more medication to get the same effect.

ADVERTISEMENT

Instead, it's recommended to see your doctor so you're able to suss out any underlying medical issues rather than covering it up and pushing on.

4. You feel tired even when you thought you had enough sleep.

While it's normal to feel groggy AF right after you wake up (it's called sleep inertia), this feeling should generally disappear within around 15 to 60 minutes (according to Sleep Foundation). 

If it doesn't, however, and you're still tired after a solid seven or eight hours, you could be dealing with health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome or hypothyroidism (where the thyroid gland is underactive and fails to secrete enough hormones to help you fall asleep).

Image: Getty 

Another sneaky cause is a neurological condition called narcolepsy, which causes extreme sleepiness in the daytime and may also cause you to suddenly fall asleep during any activity. Like, ANY activity - work, sport, walking down the street...

So, if you're feeling fairly zoned out on the regular, it could be a problem - and you need to see your doctor.

5. You do things you don't remember.

If your partner always tells you about crazy things you were doing the night before - don't ignore it. 

Whether it's sleepwalking, sleep snacking, sleep chatting, having sex while you're still asleep or doing some furniture re-shuffling; these are all signs you need to seek some professional help.

These habits could be an indicator of parasomnia, which is a condition that involves doing abnormal things while you sleep - and it could be pretty dangerous to you and those around you.

Have you ever experienced any of the above? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty

Love watching TV and movies? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher.