The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 41 million Americans do not get enough sleep. This leads to more accidents and mistakes made from difficulties in concentration. Lack of sleep also can make people more likely to come down with a work-related illness such as obesity.
Why aren’t Americans getting enough sleep? In some cases, medical conditions can be affecting the ability to fall asleep, stay asleep or sleep deeply enough for REM sleep. Here are the main medical conditions that the National Centers on Sleep Disorder Research says interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.
Chronic Pain Disorders
If you suffer from a chronic pain problem, chances are you also do not get enough sleep. The condition can make it too painful to sleep. Chronic pain conditions include arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic back pain such as spinal stenosis and pain from severe injuries. Even injuries long healed can still cause aches and pains.
Headache-prone people such as those who suffer from migraines are also prone to experiencing sleep difficulties. Many people with chronic head pain also suffer from a mental illness. The condition with the worst pain is known as cluster headaches, which usually begins about one or two hours after the patient has fallen asleep.
Other Medical Conditions
Some severe medical conditions may not cause pain during sleep but can still interfere with normal sleep. These include diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, HIV, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancers and end-stage renal disease. Many people with Type II diabetes also have sleep problems. People who are overweight or obese are not only more prone to Type II diabetes but also sleep apnea, where the airways close completely many times a night.
Some women also experience insomnia when they will go through menopause. Some will wake up because of drenching night sweats and have difficulty getting back to sleep. These symptoms usually go away when menopause is over.
People suffering from mental illnesses such as major depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders or bipolar disorder commonly suffer from sleep problems. This lack of sleep can then intensify other symptoms of the particular mental illness they are suffering from. This is one reason why medications such as antidepressants make people sleepy when they first begin taking them.
Patients suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often have sleep problems such as an inability to easily fall asleep and restless leg syndrome. Harvard Medical School states that some patients ADHD symptoms improved when their sleep problems were treated.