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Medical Conditions that Affect Sleep

There are a number of medical conditions that can affect our sleep. Read more...
 

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Itching


Itching, referred to medically as pruritus, is one of the most common skin-related conditions that can impact our sleep. Most causes of itch are worse at night simply because we have time to focus on this unpleasant sensation. The cycle set up by the sensation of itch followed by scratching is a vicious cycle that is difficult to shake. Once the cycle is in place, people find it harder to fall asleep. Once asleep, many people wake themselves up scratching in their sleep. I have patients who scratch one leg against the other or against the tubing on the side of the mattress that they wake up to little blood stains on their sheets! This does not lead to restful sleep and can cause a groggy feeling the next day.



Itching can have a number of causes and it’s essential to see your doctor to evaluate the cause and decide on a management plan.


Flushing


Flushing in the middle of the night can lead to disrupted sleep. Falling asleep covered in blankets and feeling an overwhelming flush or heat sensation in the middle of the night causing us to throw our blankets off is also not uncommon. The causes of these episodes of flushing can vary from hormonal changes to other health-related concerns. Anything that wakes you up in the middle of the night can affect your sleep. If it’s hormonal, it can be difficult to control this tendency. An evaluation by your doctor is important to consider the wide range of causes.



Eczema


One of the most common causes for infants and children to struggle to fall asleep is a tendency for their skin to feel inflamed and itchy. There is an inability to find rest or a comfortable position. It’s helpful to apply moisturizers right before bedtime or nap time to keep the skin hydrated and less sensitive.




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