East Carolina Brain Center
1310 E Arlington Blvd, Ste A
Transitions Behavioral Health
Greenville NC 27858
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Sleep Disturbances

Sleep Disturbances


Are you having problems sleeping?

Do you have difficulty falling asleep? Or with waking up in the night and not going right back to sleep?

Are you frustrated with not falling asleep easily and not sleeping through the night?

Are you dreading both bedtime and the morning alarm because you are not getting your rest?… Because you just aren’t sleeping!

Are you trying different medications, but you still feel like you don’t sleep well? And are you concerned about becoming addicted to the medication?

Are you searching for something that will give you deep, restful sleep? Sleep that used to come so easily… Sleep that energized you and made you look forward to waking up.

As simple as sleeping should be for you, sometimes you find it is the most complicated part of your life. And it affects your entire life when you don’t get sleep!  It impairs your abilities to think and pay attention… to memorize and learn… to drive safely.

Your risk significantly increases for cardiac disease, diabetes, brain degeneration, fibromyalgia, memory problems, depression, mood disorders, irritability and automobile related accidents.

There are five sleep cycles that you go through when you are sleeping well. The stages of your sleep are orchestrated by different areas of your brain, your endocrine system and your immune system.

These cycles are occurring over and over throughout the night and each cycle lasts about 90 minutes.

Stage 1 – Light sleep and relaxation of the muscles. ( can wake up)
Stage 2 – Activity in the brain slows and eye movement stops.
Stage 3 – Brains waves become slow (delta waves) and small quick waves occur.
Stage 4 – Brains waves are all delta wave.
Stage 5 – (REM) Rapid Eye Movement – dreams occur.

Your insomnia may be short term and last for less than a week.  This is typically due to stress in your life, changes in your daily or nightly routine, some other short term illness you might have.

If your insomnia continues for longer than a week or two it is becoming a chronic problem. Chronic insomnia becomes more difficult for you to overcome because it is changing your physiology, the way that your brain and body are designed to work. As your physiology changes it becomes a tangled web of failing body systems.

With chronic insomnia you may have high, or low levels of the stress hormone cortisol…you may have shifts of your immune system balance as a result of chronic infection or auto-immune condition. You may be depressed and develop anxiety, hallucinations or other mood disorder.

Symptoms that you may be experiencing with insomnia: difficulty falling asleep, including difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position; waking during the night and being unable to return to sleep; feeling unrefreshed upon waking; daytime sleepiness , irritabilty  or anxiety; early morning awakening and not being able to return to sleep; restless legs; sleep apnea; depression.

Fortunately, we have the advanced diagnostic tools and laboratory testing available to use as a compass to point the way toward nights of restful, refreshing sleep! Call us today!

There are a large number and variety of possible causes of your lack of sleep. I have some of these listed for you to illustrate how difficult it can be to zero in on the underlying causes of your sleep disorder.

  •  Use of stimulants , including certain medications , herbs , caffeine , nicotine, cocaine , amphetamines , methylphenidate , aripipazole , MDMA , modafinil , or excessive alcohol intake.
  • Withdrawal from anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines or pain-relievers such as opioids.
  • Use of fluoroquinolone antibiotic drugs is associated with more severe and chronic types of insomnia.
  • Restless legs syndrome, which can cause sleep onset insomnia. 
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD), which occurs during sleep and can cause waking.
  • Pain from   an injury or condition making it difficult finding a comfortable position and causing awakening.
  • Hormonal shifts such as before menses  and during menopause. 
  • Life events such as fear, anxiety, emotional or mental tension, work or financial problems, birth of a child, death of a loved one.
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn or constipation.
  • Mental disorders: bipolar disorder; depression; anxiety; PTSD; schizophrenia; OCD; dementia; ADHD.
  •  Disturbances of the daily sleep/wakefulness cycle (circadian rhythm), such as shift work and jet lag.
  • Certain neurological disorders, brain lesions/imbalances or a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • Conditions such as hyperthyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Abuse of over-the counter or prescription sleep aids (sedative or depressants) can produce rebound insomnia. 
  • Poor sleep habits or routines e.g., noise, light, over consumption of caffeine, irregular bedtime, computer or TV prior to bedtime.
  • Exercise induced insomnia is common in athletes in that it takes longer to fall asleep.