If you're sick or struggling with a health condition, you'll know that it can be tough at virtually any time of day. But have you ever noticed that some symptoms seem to worsen at night? Since sleep is one of the most effective ways your body can repair itself, a disruption of rest can make you feel even worse.
Fortunately, even when your doctor's office is closed, there are ways to receive after hours medical care for many of these conditions. You can start with the 9,300 or so walk-in urgent care centers around the nation (many of which are 24 hour urgent care locations that provide effective treatment at any time). From the common cold to more chronic conditions, we've listed just a few health concerns that often act up in the evenings.
Cold And Flu
It's not just your imagination; your cold and flu symptoms probably do feel worse at night. Gravity can actually play a huge part here, as your mucus flow changes a lot once you lie down. You'll probably feel more congested and will start to cough more, which can make sleeping a near-impossible feat. In addition, you should keep in mind that your immune system's inflammatory response actually goes into overdrive at night, which makes symptoms like headache, chills, and congestion feel much more pronounced. Your body is trying to do its job, but in so doing, you'll probably feel less comfortable.
Aside from seeking out flu treatment and other recommendations from your after hours medical care clinic, you may be able to ease your discomfort by hydrating properly and either steaming or clearing your nasal passages before heading to bed. You should also consider elevating your upper body for sleep. Fortunately, your discomfort won't be permanent -- but you'll find it easier to get through the flu or your cold if you adapt these habits in the short term.
If you have heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (known as GERD), you might wonder why it seems much more painful at night. Again, you can blame gravity (or the lack thereof). When you're in bed trying to sleep, acidic juices from the stomach may flow back into the esophagus, This can lead to irritation and make it very difficult to sleep.
Although there are certainly medications you can take to improve your heartburn symptoms, you can also make adjustments to your diet to reduce the need for this. You should avoid drinking coffee and alcohol in the evenings and should refrain from eating large meals as a general rule. You should also make an effort to stop smoking and wait longer after meals before going to bed. Your doctor may also recommend that you lose weight.
Although asthma might impede you from taking part in certain physical activities, it can also keep you from getting a good night's sleep. Nighttime coughing can be especially problematic for many people. Wheezing and inability to breathe can result in costly and stressful emergency room visits, so it's important to understand what causes this to occur and how to keep it from happening.
Some experts believe that the worsening of asthmatic symptoms could be related to circadian rhythms. When cortisol levels change during the nighttime, the body's airways can be impacted. Plus, when your breathing slows at night, you don't benefit from as much oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer. Your bedroom could be a culprit, if it's full of dust mites or has poor ventilation. Give your home a good cleaning and try sleeping in a more upright position. Your doctor may also recommend that you adopt a healthier lifestyle with a more balanced diet and an exercise routine. And of course, if you do suffer from an attack, you should seek out convenient care at the nearest hospital.
These symptoms may be worse at night, but your condition shouldn't keep you from a sound sleep. For many of these symptoms, you may be able to seek out after hours medical care for treatment at your local urgent care center. When a situation is too dire for after hours medical care, head to your local ER for treatment.
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