3 Real Women With 3 Real Sleep Problems
We asked WebMD's sleep expert to help these tired ladies learn to get some shut-eye again.
Restless Leg Syndrome: Like Bugs Under the Skin continued...
Ditch the drinks. Finally, Kaiser should skip alcohol. Drinking can make RLS symptoms up to three times worse.
Today, at 45, Kaiser’s RLS is under control (the symptoms are never entirely gone, just lessened), and she’s getting more sleep. She has learned to control her symptoms by painting in the evening to get a mental edge over her body and walking several times a week for her physical health and her RLS. She works closely with her doctor to manage her medication, supplements her iron intake with prescription iron pills, and has given up social drinking.
"Before I was diagnosed, sleep was something that was totally foreign to me," says Kaiser. "Now, I am sleeping better and feeling better -- and that makes all the difference in my ability to enjoy my life."
Sleep Apnea: The Robber of Sleep
Stephanie Torrez, 56, of Stanwood, Wash., juggles her personal schedule as well as the daily timetables of two surgeons at Western Washington Medical Group. But being unable to get a good night’s sleep made the surgery scheduler’s life and work increasingly difficult. Her exhaustion was so overpowering that even small things such as driving to the store were starting to feel like a monumental task.
One day she almost fell asleep behind the wheel. "I was driving home from running errands, and I had my granddaughter in the car," says Torrez. "But I was so tired, I just couldn’t stay awake and drive anymore, so I pulled over."
The next thing she knew, her husband was knocking at the window. She had fallen asleep on the side of the road with her granddaughter in the backseat.
Luckily, her husband happened to drive by -- but the experience scared them into seeking help. "I had been living with a lack of sleep for about six years, and it was making my life miserable," Torrez says.
She wasn’t able to travel with her husband because she was too tired to enjoy it, and her over-the-top snoring was keeping him up at night. She had visited her doctor, who suggested she try weight loss. She had gained more than a few pounds and was considered overweight, but getting slimmer didn’t help her snoring -- or her exhaustion.