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Sleep problems are common after a stroke. More than half of all stroke survivors have some type of sleep problem. Poor sleep can slow your recovery and lead to depression, memory problems, and night-time falls. Sleep plays an important part in not only helping the brain to heal, but in physical healing as well. The good news is there are ways to improve your sleep.
What are common sleep problems after stroke?
You may experience changes in your sleep following a stroke. More than half of stroke survivors have one of the following sleep problems:
Insomnia describes not being able to fall or stay asleep. Although some people may have problems with getting too much sleep, the usual sleep disorder is trouble sleeping at night followed by feeling drowsy during the day. Failing to get enough sleep can cause setbacks in post-stroke recovery.
Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders
The most common sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. This is a serious condition. Sleep apnea increases the risk of having a second stroke. It is caused by abnormal breathing patterns. Loud snoring, choking, and gasping sounds during sleep may mean that you have sleep apnea.
Sleep-Wake Cycle Disorders
After a stroke, some survivors do not get sleepy at night. It may be difficult to wake the stroke survivor in the morning. This happens when the sleep-wake schedule is no longer affected by sunlight and the darkness of night.
Can sleep problems be treated?
Your healthcare team can help you with your sleep problems.
If CPAP doesn’t work well for you, there are other ways to control sleep-related breathing disorders. A special mouthpiece can be made to help minimize your symptoms. The most common purposes for mouthpieces are to prevent teeth-clenching or to prevent the tongue from interfering with breathing. In some cases, upper airway surgery can result in a wider airway and relieve sleep problems. There are also some medications that can help.
Tips to manage sleep problems at home
Here is a list of common sleep-friendly adjustments you can make at home:
Certain foods and drinks can lead to sleep problems:
Sleep is important for good health. Everyone should expect to get a good night’s sleep.