Nocturia and bruxism
2. You toss and turn or wake up often to use the bathroom.
What it's a symptom of: Nocturia is the official name for waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 65 percent of older adults are sleep deprived as a result of frequent nighttime urination. Normally, our bodies have a natural process that concentrates urine while we sleep so we can get six to eight hours without waking. But as we get older, we become less able to hold fluids for long periods because of a decline in antidiuretic hormones.
How it interrupts sleep: For some people, the problem manifests as having to get up to use the bathroom, and then being unable to get back to sleep. Once middle-of-the-night sleeplessness attacks, they lie awake for hours. But for others the problem is more subtle; they may sleep fitfully without waking fully, as the body attempts to send a signal that it needs to go.
What to do: Start with simple steps. Don't drink any liquids for at least three hours before going to bed. This includes foods with a lot of liquid in them, like soups or fruit. Lower your coffee and tea consumption; the acids in coffee and tea can irritate the bladder. Don't drink alcohol, which functions as a diuretic as well as a bladder irritant.
Go to the bathroom last thing before getting in bed and relax long enough to fully empty your bladder. It's also important to get checked for conditions that cause urination problems. Guys, this means getting your prostate checked. Inflammation of the prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPN), and prostate tumors can all cause frequent urination. In women, overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, incontinence, and cystitis are common causes of urinary problems.
Diabetes can also cause frequent urination, so if you haven't been tested for diabetes recently, see your doctor. Certain drugs such as diuretics and heart medications can contribute to this problem; if that's the case, talk to your doctor about taking them earlier in the day. A prescription antidiuretic can cut down on nighttime urination if all else fails and there's no underlying issue.
3. Your jaw clicks, pops, or feels sore, or your teeth are wearing down.
What it's a symptom of: Teeth grinding, officially known as bruxism, is a subconscious neuromuscular activity. Bruxism often goes on without your being aware of it; experts estimate that only 5 percent of people who grind their teeth or clench their jaws know they do it until a sleep partner notices the telltale sound or a dentist detects wear on the teeth. Jaw clenching is another form of bruxism, except you clench your teeth tightly together rather than moving them from side to side. Jaw clenching can be harder to detect than grinding, but one sign is waking with pain or stiffness in the neck.
How it interrupts sleep: Bruxism involves tensing of the jaw muscles, so it interferes with the relaxation necessary for deep sleep. And if you're fully grinding, your body is engaged in movement rather than resting.
What to do: See a dentist. If you don't have one, dental schools often offer low-cost dental care provided by students supervised by a professor. A dentist can look for underlying causes, such as problems with your bite alignment, and can prescribe a mouth-guard-type device such as a dental splint. If jaw clenching is your primary issue, there are specific dental devices for that.
Experts also suggest giving up gum chewing during the day, because the habitual chewing action can continue at night. Some people who grind their teeth have experienced relief from botox injections to the jaw muscle. Others have had success using a new biofeedback device called Grindcare, approved by the FDA in 2010.