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Body Aches At Night Only

by Lyndon Langley
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Body Aches At Night Only

Body Aches At Night Only

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with an intense case of heartburn? Or been so thirsty that you can’t get enough liquid down your throat? While these common symptoms may seem like they come from no where, it’s likely that your discomfort is actually coming from somewhere else entirely. You could have acid reflux, heartburn, or a stomach bug — but what if there was another possible culprit causing all this nighttime misery? There are several medical disorders and illnesses that cause pain in specific areas of the body at certain times throughout the day. One area that seems to suffer most often is the back. If you’ve taken a look around online lately, chances are good you’ve seen plenty of articles discussing how much sleep we need for optimal health, why we should avoid alcohol before bedtime, and even some tips on ways to find relief for insomnia. But did you know that the time of day when we’re most prone to suffering aches and pains is during the hours when we tend to doze off? It makes sense; our bodies operate differently while we’re awake than they do while we’re resting. We don’t move quite the same way, breathe the same way, and eat less food while we’re sleeping. This means that by eliminating the things that make us feel uncomfortable when we’re awake can help ease those aches and pains we experience while we’re snoozing.
Sleep Apnea
One condition that causes aches and pain in the midsection occurs because of something called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing while you sleep. When you wake up, the oxygen levels in your blood drop significantly due to the pause in breathing. Your brain then thinks that you’re dying, which prompts your lungs to send more oxygenated blood to your vital organs. This results in increased blood pressure, which leads to pain. In addition, your heart tries to compensate for the decreased blood supply to your lungs by pumping harder. This increases strain on your cardiovascular system and puts additional stress on your joints, muscles, and ligaments. People who have OSA also tend to lose weight more easily.
Treatment options include continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), surgery, oral appliances, and lifestyle changes. CPAP involves wearing a mask over the nose and mouth that blows pressurized air into your nostrils and keeps your tongue from falling asleep. Surgery can treat the soft tissue structures in the upper part of your palate that keep your airways open. Oral appliances work similarly to CPAP machines by keeping your airways open through the use of dental devices. Lifestyle changes involve avoiding known suffocation risk factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and losing weight.
Back Pain
It’s not just our backs that hurt when we wake up in the wee hours of the morning. Our spines and their surrounding discs become stressed when we stand upright for long periods of time after lying flat on our backs all night. As we age, our bones begin to shrink away from each other, putting further strain on our intervertebral discs. Even worse, the discs themselves lose elasticity and strength, making them vulnerable to injury. Eventually, a disc bulge may occur, which will put extra pressure on the spinal nerves. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention, affecting nearly 80 percent of Americans. Thankfully, there are many treatment options available for relieving acute back pain. Massage, chiropractic care, yoga, acupuncture, physical therapy, and medications are just a few examples. For severe cases of back pain, surgical intervention may be necessary.
We spend a lot of time standing. After spending eight hours per day walking around, sitting, and climbing stairs, our ankles take a beating. Ankle sprains happen frequently and can result in significant pain. Fortunately, there are treatments available for ankle injuries including rest, ice, compression stockings, elevations, bracing, and physical therapy. If conservative measures fail to relieve the pain, surgery may be needed to repair torn ligaments or remove bone chips.
Neck Pain
The neck is home to three major bones: the atlas (the first cervical vertebrae) and both sides of the spine. These bones provide support for our head and neck, allowing our heads to tilt forward without tipping over backward. They also allow our necks to bend forward and backwards. The discs between these bones protect our spinal cord and control movement. Unfortunately, the discs dehydrate overnight and weaken, putting added pressure on joints and muscles along the spine. Overweight individuals are especially susceptible to developing neck problems. Obesity weakens the muscles that hold the neck upright, resulting in bad posture. Poor posture can aggravate pre-existing ailments such as degenerative disk diseases or muscle weakness.
While headaches aren’t necessarily caused by anything particularly serious, they still affect millions of people worldwide. Migraines, tension, sinus, and vascular headaches are all different types of headaches that vary widely in severity. Some only require aspirin or Tylenol, while others call for emergency room visits. To determine whether you have a headache, try placing a cold washcloth over your forehead and cheeks. If your headache begins to subside within 30 minutes, then you probably have a migraine. Most migraines last between four and 72 hours, and they typically occur at least once a week. About 1 percent of adults suffer from migraines on a daily basis. Although researchers haven’t fully determined the exact reason behind migraines, studies suggest that genetics play a role. Women are twice as likely to develop migraines compared to men. Other contributing factors include dehydration, hormonal changes, low blood sugar, medication side effects, and poor nutrition.
Dietary Factors
Our diets can leave us feeling lethargic all day long, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that our eating habits change when we go to sleep. We generally consume fewer calories while we’re sleeping, and the foods we choose to snack on are usually healthier choices. Snacking on salty snacks, sugary desserts, and fried fast foods all increase the secretion of cortisol, a hormone responsible for regulating hunger and metabolism. Cortisol stimulates fat storage and raises insulin levels, which promotes fat breakdown and energy production. Eating too close to bedtime can lead to overeating during sleep, which can set you up for weight gain later on. Drinking caffeine late at night can disrupt normal sleep cycles. Alcohol intake has been linked to insomnia, memory loss, and hangovers. Avoiding heavy meals and large amounts of fluids six hours before going to bed can reduce stomach bloating and gas.
Although aches and pains are unavoidable during the course of the day, knowing what triggers them can help alleviate the intensity. By taking steps to prevent or minimize the occurrence of these discomforts, you’ll be able to enjoy more comfortable nights’ sleeps.

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