While you might be aware that a sniffle can signal a cold and a toothache means a cavity, what you might not realise is that there are signs in your sleep.
Your body gives you all sorts of messages about your overall health in your slumber – through your snoring, your grinding of teeth and even vivid dreams.
Speaking to FEMAIL, sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo revealed the things you’re doing in your sleep that could reveal a bigger health problem – and the major signs you need to see a professional now.
Sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo (pictured) revealed the things you’re doing in your sleep that could reveal a bigger health problem – and the major signs you need to see a professional now
According to Olivia (pictured), constant snoring often comes about as a result of alcohol, sleeping on your back or carrying excess weight
1. You snore constantly
According to Olivia, constant snoring often comes about as a result of alcohol, sleeping on your back or carrying excess weight.
‘But if snoring becomes disruptive to sleep, blocks the passage of air either completely or partially, it signifies the disorder sleep apnea,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
To help stop yourself from snoring, Olivia recommends trying to fall asleep on your side, maintaining a healthy weight and cutting down your alcohol.
‘It’s important to note that often snoring reduces sleep quality – which impedes your functionality the next day,’ she said.
‘Vivid dreams are typically derived from stress – which could be subconscious,’ Olivia said (stock image)
2. You’re always having vivid dreams
‘Vivid dreams are typically derived from stress – which could be subconscious,’ Olivia said.
If you want to minimise dreams and the stress in your life, create a bedtime routine that you stick to each and every night.
‘It can also help to practice healthy stress relief on a daily basis,’ Olivia said.
‘Exercise and meditation are my favourite clinically-proven strategies.
‘Set yourself a goal to engage in stress relief via either mechanism for at least 20 minutes daily for the coming seven days – it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.’
3. You find yourself grinding your teeth
Like vivid dreams, Olivia said that grinding your teeth in your sleep can be a sign of stress, sleep apnea or even both.
‘As with dreaming, engage in healthy stress relief practices on a regular basis, seek professional assistance if you need to manage your weight and consult your dentist to see if it’s something to do with your teeth causing it,’ Olivia said.
A bedtime routine will also help with minimising stress and reducing grinding.
4. You wake up with muscle cramps
If you’ve ever woken up with your muscles cramping in the middle of the night, it could be a telltale sign of magnesium deficiency.
‘Magnesium deficiency, high stress or electrolyte imbalance are all potentially to blame here, but magnesium is usually the cause,’ Olivia said.
Supplementing each night with a reliable magnesium formulation will aid this, she said.
‘Magnesium also helps to calm the nervous system, which will help with stress and anxiety too,’ she said.
Like vivid dreams, Olivia (pictured) said that grinding your teeth in your sleep can be a sign of stress, sleep apnea or even both
5. You always need to pee
‘An overexcited bladder can be caused by stress, excessive caffeine or overall fluid, or possibly a lack of sodium (salt),’ Olivia said.
‘Sodium reduces urine output (in a protective, homeostatic manner), which prevents each drop of water going straight in, straight out.’
The best thing to do if always needing to get up to pee is bothering you is to cut down caffeine and instead replace your brew of choice with a non-caffeinated option like peppermint tea.
‘A lack of sodium is the most unlikely cause here,’ Olivia said. ‘Western diets are overloaded with salty snacks.’
But if you think this is you – and you follow a diet like a raw vegan option for example – then ensuring you get adequate salt will help you.
6. You never sleep through the night
If your brain is overly active at night, you need to be especially strict about your evening routine, Olivia said.
‘Block any blue light after a certain time, diffuse lavender, take a magnesium supplement and drink a chamomile tea to promote calmness,’ she said.
‘If this all sounds too much, then start with one habit and build from there.’
Olivia recommends you check out your bed fabric, which should be natural and breathable – something like cotton or wool.
‘Sleep in any natural fabric to prevent overheating,’ she said.
‘Research indicates melatonin, the hormone to make you sleepy, is dependent upon a cool core body temperature.’
What are the signs you need to see a sleep specialist?
If you’re suffering with more than one of these issues, then Olivia said you perhaps consult a sleep specialist.
‘It’s possibly time to consult a professional if you’re experiencing ongoing fatigue, lack of mental clarity, loss of energy or similar sleep deprivation effects, she said.
‘Additional support in this case is critical – and should not be held off in the hope that symptoms subside.’
Olivia has a sleep program. For more information, visit her website here.