When Counting Sheep Doesn’t Work: Common Causes and Treatments of Sleep Disturbances


SleepSleep disorders result in sleepless nights, which, in turn, can make you unproductive the following day. These may include the inability to sleep and waking up frequently at night. Without immediate treatment, you may be putting your well-being at risk.

Common Causes of Sleep Disturbances

Majority of people may have suffered from sleep disturbances at one point in their lives; these can affect people of all ages. Sleep disturbances may be short- or long-term, based on the cause or the condition of the person.

Below are the most common sleep conditions:

  • Insomnia is the inability to remain asleep or fall asleep at will. This may last several nights to several months — in severe cases, years. It may be caused by hormonal activity, anxiety, stress, digestive issues, or jet lag. Underlying medical condition may also cause insomnia.
  • Bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis is a common cause of sleep disturbances. This affects kids who are currently being potty trained. Majority of children get over their bedwetting at around six to seven years old.
  • RLS or restless leg syndrome is an unexplainable need to move the legs during sleep. People who suffer from this condition may often experience a tingling sensation in the legs.
  • Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing pauses during sleep. TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana explains, “Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour.” People may also experience and teeth grinding or bruxism.
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Treatments for Sleep Disturbances

The treatment for common sleep disturbances depends on their causes. This may include a combination of the following:

  • Resolving bedwetting issues
  • Resolving underlying sleep disorders
  • Melatonin supplements
  • Sleeping pills and medications
  • Breathing apparatus or surgery
  • Dental guards for bruxism
  • Exercise, diet, and weight loss
  • Sleeping schedule
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Quitting or limiting cigarette smoking
  • Addressing anxiety and stress triggers
  • Psychotherapy

If you experience sleep disturbances for more than a week and they are starting to affect your overall health, consult your doctor. Neglecting these sleep disturbances may only cause more problems later on.