Watch CBS News

Dr. Max Gomez: Sleep Problems Could Reveal Underlying Health Issues

NEW YORK (CBS2) -- If you have trouble staying asleep you may not be alone. Night sweats, trips to the bathroom, and leg cramps keep people up until all hours of the night.

But those annoyances may mean that your body is trying to tell you something.

A rotten night of sleep can ruin anybody's day, but underlying health issues could be a rude awakening for many people who have trouble sleeping, CBS 2's Dr. Max Gomez explained.

Problems like frequent bathroom trips and snoring may be signs that something is wrong with your health, according to Dr. Gerald Suh.

"Choking episodes, gasping, nightmares, leg cramping, there's a lot of things that can affect your sleep," Suh said.

Leg and foot cramps, commonly known as "Charlie horses" have been identified as a common midnight wake-up call.

"I sometimes wonder why that happens," Tracey Rathaus said.

The reasons behind a leg or foot cramp may not always lie in your legs, but could point to other problems like a diet that is too high in fat or circulation issues.

"It's not that same thing for everybody, so you have to do some detective work to figure out what's going on," Suh explained.

Waking up out of breath in the middle of the night could be a cause of "nocturnal asthma."

"It's basically where the lining of the lungs are hyper-inflamed," Suh said.

Nighttime headaches could be caused by excessive grinding of the teeth. Coughing could be caused by acid reflux, and back pain might mean that it is time to invest in a new mattress.

"If you have too firm, you have too much space between the curve of the back and the bed," said Suh. "If it's too soft, then you're not going to get any space."

Frequent nightmares may be a sign of stress, but could also be a side effect of many medications.

"High blood pressure medications, beta blockers, sleeping pills, neurotransmitter medications, all of those have been linked to causing some sort of nightmares," sleep doctor Dr. Vicky Seelall said.

Frequent trips to the bathroom have been the biggest complaint, and could be caused by sleep apnea, aging, or a prostate condition. Nighttime thirst could be a sign of diabetes.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.