Disorders That Can Disrupt A Good Night’s Sleep

According to experts, about 45 percent of San Francisco residents report getting more than seven hours of sleep each night. About 56 percent of them also say they are getting high quality sleep. That’s not true across the country though. The American Sleep Association has found that up to 70 million Americans suffer from some kind of sleep disorder. While stress may interfere with sleep, there are a range of health problems that can hinder a good night’s rest. Fortunately, for many people who are trying to sleep and can’t, a new mattress, among other treatments, can really help.

Restless Leg Syndrome

This disorder creates an urge to move your legs that is uncontrollable and is an uncomfortable sensation. It’s most common when you’re sitting or lying down and is typically more pronounced at night. Moving your legs helps alleviate the discomfort. This condition tends to get worse as you get older. Certain health problems are associated with restless leg syndrome, including kidney failure, an iron deficiency, and lesions on the spinal cord. There are a variety of medications, including muscle relaxers, opioids, and those that boost dopamine levels, that are successful at treating restless leg syndrome for many people. The right sleeping environment can also help. Kate recommends these mattresses for people with restless leg syndrome.


Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints in your body, causing swelling and tenderness. Like restless leg syndrome, arthritis gets worse with age and leads to a breakdown of the cartilage in your joints. There are several different kinds of arthritis, but they can all make it difficult to get comfortable, particularly at night when you’re trying to sleep. The right mattress is important in this case too because it can help you find a comfortable sleeping position, but painkillers and corticosteroid creams are also beneficial. For people with severe arthritis, physical therapy or surgery can also help.


While being pregnant brings both joy and excitement, it can also make it hard to sleep, especially toward the end of the last trimester. In addition, pregnancy itself can lead to other conditions that interfere with sleep, including restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, GERD and increased urination. According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are several sleep positions that can help you get the rest you need. Sleeping with a pillow under your abdomen can help alleviate back pain. A propped up position can relieve heartburn and lying on your side makes breathing easier. Sleeping on your back or stomach during the later stages of pregnancy is not recommended as it can make you uncomfortable and increases the odds that you’ll have trouble sleeping.

Back Pain

Back pain is a very common complaint and many people experience it when they’re lying down, making it hard to get to sleep. You may feel the pain localized in your back but may also notice that it radiates into your legs. Back pain can be caused by many things, including strains, injuries, slipped or ruptured disks and other issues that affect your muscles and bones. During the day you can practice good posture, exercise and keep your weight healthy, and use caution when lifting. At night, you can try muscle relaxers or pain medications, but sleeping on a supportive mattress with a body pillow can also help.


Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. It tends to worsen when you lie down and can be a chronic problem, but can also be caused by eating heavy, fatty meals close to bedtime. In that case, the fix is simple. Eat lighter meals or plan to finish eating several hours before bedtime so your food has a chance to digest before you lay down. You might also try avoiding coffee, other sources of caffeine and alcohol in the evening. While you sleep, you can try using a mattress wedge or blocks under your bedposts, which work to elevate your head, enabling gravity to help keep the stomach acid from flowing back up.

No matter why you’re having trouble sleeping, avoiding your smartphone or tablet before bed can also help. The blue light emitted by the screen interferes with brain waves, making it hard for some people to sleep. If you still can’t get the rest you need, talk to your doctor.

Just Posted

Police release an image a cracked windshield on a Prius that Cesar Vargas allegedly tried to carjack. Vargas, who was shot by police a short time later, can be seen in videos jumping on the windshield and pushing a Muni passenger who disembarked from a bus. (Courtesy SFPD
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

New legislation would make sure supportive housing tenants don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner))
Supportive housing tenants could get more help paying the rent

Supportive housing tenants struggling to pay rent could soon see their payments… Continue reading

Organizers of the San Francisco International Arts Festival had planned to use parts of Fort Mason including the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery to host performances by about a dozen Bay Area arts groups. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Arts festival sues city over permit denial

Organizer says outdoor performances should be treated like demonstrations, religious gatherings

An oversight body for San Francisco’s mental health programs may be restructured after questions were raised about its management and lack of effectiveness. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Behavioral health oversight body looks for new start — and staff — after mismanagement

Members of an oversight body for San Francisco’s behavioral health programs said… Continue reading

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

Most Read