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Posted on 09-13-2016

Counting Sheep...


You wake late after hitting the snooze button because you were up all night tossing and turning. You go to back out of your drive way only to knock over your garbage can. You get to work and realize you forgot your laptop that has your presentation on it for a meeting with a HUGE client. You officially have decided the day is over and you are doomed for failure.

Sleep plays a big role in our lives not only physically, but mentally as well. Day after day week after week we see patients coming in with sleep problems. So what is it that prevents people from catching a good night of Z’s? Here is a look at the top reasons people spend their nights sleepless.

1. You Think Too Much.

We have all had those nights where we can’t stop thinking. Our mind races about all the things we need to do or get done or have some bothersome idea that just won’t go away.

2. You Sleep In.

Ok so you had a deadline or a crying baby keeping you up all night and you just want to sleep in to “catch up” on your sleep. Guess what? This throws off your internal clock, which is controlled by a cluster of nerve cells in the brain that also regulate appetite and body temperature, says Lawrence Epstein, MD, medical director of Sleep Health Centers in Brighton, MA, and author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep.

3. You sleep with your fur babies

You know you are supposed to say no to those cute and cuddly buddies when they give you that look- pleaaassse! Over half of all cat and dog owners say that their pets wake them up in the middle of the night. Sorry to break it to you, but it is time to kick your four-legged friends out of the bed.

4. Nutrition

You can’t tell me you haven’t had a day where you have downed 3 coffees, had Mc Donald’s on the way home from work and sat down in front of the TV and ate a whole Ben & Jerry’s tub of Ice Cream before bed because we all have. New studies have found our nutrition plays a bigger role in our sleep than we think. It was found that short sleepers (five to six hours a night) consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers (seven to eight hours), very short sleepers (fewer than five hours), and long sleepers (nine or more hours) data from the 2007-2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and Michael Grandner, an instructor in psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

5. Pain

This is the kicker- over 57% of Americans have a loss of sleep due to pain reports the 2015 Sleep in America poll, released by the National Sleep Foundation. And guess what? The drugs are not helping people. Poll results showed that pain medications didn’t seem to help people sleep much better, or have a greater quality of sleep, whether they had chronic pain or not. People in chronic pain who took pain medication reported worse sleep quality in the prior week than those in pain who didn’t reported a study done by Dr. Dan Clauw.

Sleep is vitally important for the body’s recovery process, “For pain-free people, the single biggest risk factor for developing new chronic pain is having a sleep problem,” says Dr. Dan Clauw, an anesthesiology professor at University of Michigan and director of its Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.

Keep a look out for our top ways to improve your sleep pattern and start catching some ZZZZzzzz's.

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