3 Surprising Things Stealing Your Sleep

A man with glasses rubbing his eyes
No energy? Feeling exhausted? You’re not alone: Nearly one-third of Americans report significant fatigue, accounting for 7 million doctor visits every year.

Logic would say that you’re just not getting enough sleep, right? Lack of sleep or certain medical conditions can certainly be culprits, but so can these four surprising energy-stealers:

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Bad Bacteria?

Two-thirds of the world’s population–over 4.5 billion people–have bad bacteria known as H. Pylori living in their stomach. This harmful bacteria can be a major source of fatigue. Your stomach’s inner lining produces acid to digest food, while simultaneously creating protective mucus to guard from this acid. H. pylori bacteria invade the stomach, destroying your protective mucus layer and leaving you vulnerable to ulcers, or tiny sores on the stomach’s lining. While you sleep, acid can escape the stomach through these ulcers and flow up into your esophagus, causing a sore throat and ruining your ability to get deep, restorative sleep. Additionally, as blood escapes from the ulcers, it may cause anemia, further lowering your energy throughout the day.

Fortunately, H. Pylori infection is easy to detect and treat. A simple breath test from your doctor will detect the bacteria. Antibiotics can kill the bad bacteria and acid-reducing medications will treat the ulcers. You can also try taking antacids before bed; if they seem to lead to a better night’s sleep, it may indicate the presence of H. Pylori.