Sleep disturbance is a very common human condition. In fact, sometimes it's unavoidable. For most of us, fortunately, sleep disorders are mild and brief.

However, when sleep disturbances or insomnia last for long periods of time, they can cause serious health problems.

Last time, we spoke intensively about RLS, or Restless Leg Syndrome. As you probably now know, RLS is often associated with peripheral neuropathy. So let's talk a bit more about sleep. Sleep is the time when both your brain and your body rest.

It's part of normal 24-hour, or, Circadian, rhythms. During the normal sleep rhythms of the body, certain functions such as changes in our body temperature (which help induce sleep), and hormone levels that control things such as appetite take place.

But when things like peripheral neuropathy, restless leg syndrome, or even simple stress intervene, the net result is disturbance in all of the above. So, side effects from sleep disturbance can include weight gain, muscle aches and pains, overall lack of energy, and sometimes serious depression.

But what is the neuropathy sufferer to do? Well, fortunately, there are several things that can be done. First of all, work with your doctors to take appropriate dosages of medicines, when absolutely necessary.

We also strongly suggest that you keep yourself active during the day, if your condition allows. Wherever possible, this should include some exercise in bright sunlight.

Stay well hydrated. Dehydration or too much water consumption late in the day also disturbs sleep.

Space your meals and pay attention to things like too much sugar or too much caffeine.

Magnesium supplement taken throughout the day may also be very helpful. I commonly prescribe my own patients 400 to 800 mg of magnesium malate per day into divided dosages. Never do this without your doctor's knowledge, and never in the presence of kidney disease.

Finally, if you have not already used a neurostimulator, they can greatly help reduce painful symptoms and so help you sleep more easily.

They're so easy to use, they will even shut them off with a built-in timer, which means you can go to bed with them on. Gentle electric stimulation often helps you feel better in a number of different ways. Do not let sleep disturbance-regardless due to peripheral neuropathy, RLS or some other condition-continue.

Pay attention to diet, and stress reduction. All of these things will greatly facilitate a good night's rest!