Neuropathy – What It Is and How It Disrupts Sleep
Approximately 20 million people in the US have some form of neuropathy, and experts say this number is likely much higher since many cases remain undiagnosed. But what is neuropathy?
Neuropathy indicates damage to a nerve or a group of nerves with various causes. There are different forms of neuropathy, with over 100 variations of peripheral neuropathy already established.
The leading cause of polyneuropathy in America is diabetes, with an estimated 60 to 70% of people living with this condition enduring a range of nerve problems with numbness, tingling, bands of pain, burning feet, and weakness in their core.
But there are numerous causes of neuropathy, including:
- Systemic Autoimmune Disease
- Blood and Vascular Issues
- Autoimmune Diseases Which Attack Nerves
- Disorders of the Liver and Kidneys
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Some Cancers
- Infections and Viruses
Other issues like alcoholism, poor nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and exposure to toxins can all cause nerve damage and neuropathy.
Neuropathy’s symptoms come in many forms, each with its particular issues. For instance, motor nerves control all muscle movements you handle consciously, like talking, walking, or writing notes.
Sensory nerves inform us about our sense of touch, temperature, and the pain of an injury. The autonomic nerves manage and regulate the things not in your conscious control, like breathing, heartbeat, and digesting food.
Your symptoms will vary depending on the origins of your neuropathy and might include the following:
- Permanent or Temporary Numbness
- Muscle Cramps
- Burning, Tingling Sensations
- Weakness or Wasting of Muscle
- Organ or Gland Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction in men and women and problems urinating are also issues with neuropathy. These symptoms can interfere with your sleep and virtually always create massive stress and anxiety around everything from daily activities to the future and your ability to get sufficient rest.
A Thief in the Night
Neuropathy can trigger sleep disorders such as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), and nerve issues contribute to poor sleep in many other ways. You may experience unusual sensations, and become hypersensitive to touch, especially in the feet and legs, making sleeping difficult.
It may seem that with all the uncomfortable, even painful, sensations arising from nerve damage, insomnia is likely the least of your concerns. But insomnia is the other edge of the sword.
The complex web of odd sensations and pain will often keep sufferers from achieving adequate rest, and lacking that rest compounds all the issues that neuropathy brings.
Everything gets worse when you don’t get sufficient restorative sleep.
What Can You Do?
Your best bet for overcoming neuropathy’s many issues is to attack its core cause. Identifying the origin of your neuropathy is essential to reduce, manage, or eliminate (if possible) the condition altogether.
There are prescription meds that can ease the pain, but there is no pharmacological cure for neuropathy.
Typically, when you can successfully address the underlying cause, neuropathy and its symptoms will shrink and possibly disappear. Whether you can eliminate your neuropathy depends significantly on its origins, the length of time you have it, and your ability to take the necessary steps to eliminate the cause.
You cannot eliminate all neuropathy, but you can stabilize your condition and prevent further damage by controlling the underlying cause to the best of your ability.
Dealing with a complex issue like the nerve damage arising from neuropathy can be life-altering. Here, we are only scratching the surface of the many challenges and agonizing realities of neuropathy in its many forms. But they are all disruptive to sleep, painful, and challenging to manage.
Insomnia is almost inevitable with the nighttime muscle cramps, involuntary movements, pain, and other unpleasant neuropathy symptoms. Battling neuropathy requires proper support and encouragement to endure this array of symptoms and overcome the often overwhelming sense of hopelessness a condition like neuropathy can deliver.
But even with a confounding issue like neuropathy, gaining the knowledge, skills, and tools to understand better and manage your sleep and sleep environment is crucial. Just because you are dealing with nerve damage does not mean you will not benefit from good sleep hygiene and best practices for better sleep.
You need the type of support that Sleep Science Academy’s science-based, multi-discipline Dynamic Sleep Recalibration (DSR) program provides their clients daily. Each client works with their certified professional holistic health/sleep coach who crafts an individual treatment plan.
Contact us today to schedule your complimentary sleep consultation with one of our certified sleep coaches to take that first step to a more restful future and learn more about The Sleep Science Academy Difference.