Q: I wake up every night around 3 a.m., unable to fall asleep again. I've tried taking different sleep aid medications, but after a while none of them work. Are there any treatment options that can help me get the sleep I need?
A: This is a common problem for many people I see in my practice. Many people assume that sleep problems will go away on their own. However, sleep issues can take a serious toll on your work performance, ability to drive or operate machinery even your ability to function in day-to-day life. They often require medical intervention.
Causes of sleep disorder can include insomnia, depression, sleep apnea, stress and anxiety, as well as other environmental and health factors. If you are struggling with insomnia of any kind, my first recommendation would be to assess and modify your lifestyle behaviors and see if that helps you get a more restful night. You should also address any disruptive environmental factors such as cellphone sounds, leaving the television on at night and bedroom temperature.
In terms of lifestyle changes, I would encourage you to try adding daily exercise to your routine, avoid taking naps during the day and refrain from consuming alcohol or stimulants of any kind close to bedtime.
To get a full understanding of the causes of your restless sleep, you should seek help from a physician who specializes in sleep medicine.
— Dr. Kimberly Smith, UT Erlanger Neurology; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society