Alaska Sleep Education Center

Health Problems That Stem From Sleepless Nights

Posted by Stefanie Leiter

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on Jan 11, 2019 10:05:00 AM

Anxiety, depression, and exhaustion are logical reasons behind lack of sleep and restless nights. The more uncommon explanations come from other ailments plaguing the normal daily functionalities of the human body.

A lot of problems stemming from another ailment can actually help diagnose a sleeping disorder if tracked and treated through the process of a diagnosis. A few you may be missing are included within this blog.



fibFibromyalgia causes muscle pain making it difficult to sleep which then cyclically creates exacerbated pain causing lack of sleep. Once symptoms can be identified and controlled more successfully, sleep improves while pain lessens.

The trick is to find the right balance to improve both with a physician. “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculo-skeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.”

Many people who have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, anxiety, and depression. Unfortunately, there is not a magic bullet to curing fibromyalgia, but it can interfere longterm with your ability to function at home or at work.

Each symptom causes restless nights increasing the symptoms. Those who are obese with FMS and snore or have trouble sleeping may have sleep apnea affecting not only their sleep but their overall FMS pain management.


Dental Health:

A lot of issues stem from dental health outside of the normal cavity. Anxiety and stress leads to canker sores which leads to uncomfortable sleeping conditions. By controlling and managing stress, you minimize the risk of cavities providing healthy teeth and gums.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. When an individual is prone to sleep apnea or other sleepless conditions, it increases the chance of dry mouth which builds the tartar on your teeth creating oral diseases.

The reverse is true as well: sleep apnea causes dental problems adding to health issues. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay. It washes away food debris, neutralizes destructive acids caused by bacteria and helps keep the soft and hard tissues of the mouth in good condition.

Image result for dental sleep appliancesSnoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea that causes dry mouth leading to oral bacterial infections or other dental issues. Be sure to ask a sleep specialist about all of the available treatment options including CPAP and dental devices and inquire which may be best suited for you.

Dental and sleep apnea devices available include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP), mouth appliances, and specially designed pillows. Oral treatments include a Mandibular Repositioning device and a Tongue Retaining device. These devices open your airway by bringing your lower jaw forward during sleep. They are acrylic and fit inside your mouth, much like an athletic mouth guard. Others may fit around your head and chin to adjust the position of your lower jaw as well.



Hypothyroidism (known as an underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain important hormones. Women are more likely to have hypothyroidism as it upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body.Thyroid disorders are common affecting about 12 percent of Americans at some point during their lives.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that drapes across the front of your windpipe. The gland releases a thyroid hormone, which controls the growth and metabolism of essentially every part of your body.

The pituitary gland in the middle of your head monitors your physiology and releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is the signal to the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormone.

Without proper diagnosis and treatment, untreated hypothyroidism can cause additional health problems including joint pain, infertility, and heart disease. It can also lead to neurological conditions like depression, anxiety, and forgetfulness.

Unfortunately, for some patients, fatigue persists, even after treatment for the thyroid condition. But fatigue does not always indicate a complete hypothyroid issue. High-quality sleep is defined for adults as 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly. Daytime fatigue can be combated with at least a minimum amount of sleep consistently.

When hypothyroidism is present, there may be changes within the upper airway that lead to difficulties breathing during sleep. These difficulties commonly lead to sleep apnea. Like hypothyroidism, sleep apnea causes excessive daytime sleepiness, apathy, and feeling lethargic. With both disorders common and similar, testing both is the smart step towards treatment.


Chronic Back Pain:

The American Chiropractic Association sites 80 percent of individuals have suffered back pains or injuries at some point in their life with 31 million Americans dealing with back pains at any given day. Pain that worsens at night can be even trickier to try and find a comfortable resting position.

Americans spend $50 billion annually on back pain relief ($190 billion through healthcare claims). It is also the second leading cause for missing a day’s work with 20 percent of doctor visits relating to back strain and pain.

Through the treatment of neuro-muscular disorders, chiropractors seek to improve functionality and reduce any pain restoring integrity to the spine helping patients sleep more soundly.

A sleep study may be the best route to link sleepiness. Though the type of sleep study varies by a patient’s symptoms, healthcare providers will monitor your sleep either in a lab or at your home using portable home sleep apnea testing equipment.

Completing a sleep study can also enhance your quality of life from these conditions which already is most likely taking away a full night’s rest.

If you live in Alaska and are ready to take back your sleep, contact The Alaska Sleep Clinic and receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with a sleep educator who can help you determine if a sleep study is right for you.

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Topics: dental, health, fibromyalgia

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