Sleep is crucial to your overall health because it energizes and refreshes you during the night. Unfortunately, many people struggle to fall asleep or sleep peacefully and deeply due to health issues or other external factors. It’s important to understand that sleep impacts your mental capacity, energy level, moods, and wellbeing. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are daunting because a restless night drains your mental abilities and puts your overall health at risk. Science connected poor sleep with numerous health issues, from a weakened immune system to high blood pressure, memory problems, mood changes, and risk for diabetes.
Several factors impact your sleep because they change the way your brain and metabolism function. The first step to deal with your sleep struggles is to identify them.
Light can disturb your sleep cycle
As you may already know, the retinas in your eyes respond to light changes because they include light cells in the areas of the eye accountable for vision. These cells tell your brain the time of the day to help it modify its reactions accordingly. Unfortunately, synthetic light is everywhere around you and can make it difficult for your brain to tell when it’s time to go to sleep. Prolonged exposure to synthetic light can cause a muddled circadian rhythm that triggers a reduction in sleep time. You need to modify the sleep environment to prevent light from disturbing your sleep cycle. Install thick curtains to the windows and use a sleep mask to cover your eyes during the night and protect them from any source of light. This way, you won’t wake up too early in the morning.
Room temperature can keep you awake at night or impact sleep quality
The room temperature can influence your sleep quality, REM sleep, slow-wave sleep, and sleep types because it impacts the thermoregulation in the body. People feel comfortable at different room temperatures, and you need to figure out by yourself what temperature you find most suitable to enhance your sleep, but it’s best to keep it around 65 degrees.
If you easily fall asleep but keep tossing and turning throughout the night and wake up with shoulder pain, spine stiffness, back pain, and headaches, your mattress may be at fault. Mattresses are built differently, so while some apply higher pressure, others are more cushioned, affecting your sleep differently. Identify your needs and select a mattress that suits your sleeping style. The average mattress with medium firmness is a perfect choice when you experience no medical issues.
Poor sleep pattern routine
Changing work schedules and daily activities can impact sleep patterns. Sadly, people’s work has changed a lot lately, not for the better because they have to sacrifice sleep and family time to complete job-related tasks. And statistics show that people will work even more in the future to keep up with the growing job market demands. Because of the rise in consumerism, organisations are forced to extend their work schedules to 24/7, which means employees are working in various shifts that disturb their sleep patterns. Ideally, people would go to bed and wake up at the same time daily to maintain healthy sleep patterns.
Using a screen device in bed
Technology has improved our lives, but sadly it also has side effects that can impact our well-being in the long run. Radiation from screen devices decreases the level of melatonin in the body and therefore delays sleep and provokes daytime sleepiness. Because people are connected to their phones, they use them after the lights go out and disturb their sleep cycle. It’s best to put all devices aside 30 minutes before going to bed because it allows the brain to wind down and get your body ready for dozing off.
Nightclothes can make you feel uncomfortable at night
Even if some scientists recommend sleeping in the nude, PJs have numerous benefits like keeping you warm at night and maintaining good hygiene. Depending on the model you prefer, your nightclothes can cover your legs and arms and protect your body from cold throughout the night. While you may think adding an extra blanket is enough during the cold season, having a pair of high-quality pajamas is more effective. Also, during the night, your skin sheds dead cells and grows new ones, and even if the process is natural and not harmful for the body, it can trigger health issues if they get into the wrong place. When you wear pajamas, the dead cells end up in the clothes and don’t spread around the house. However, make sure to wash your nightclothes regularly to prevent problems like skin infections, cystitis and MRSA.
Medical disorders, both psychological and physical, can affect your ability to sleep. It can happen as a result of pain from physiological conditions like premenstrual syndrome, gastric reflux, or arthritis, but also due to psychological disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression. When you struggle with mental health issues, you can experience sleep only during the REM stage. The human body is designed to wake up in hostile situations and stay alert, so when you have psychological issues, they activate the same response.
Using certain types of medication can also trigger sleep deprivation because it prevents you from falling asleep or sleeping peacefully at night. Antihistamines, anti-depressant, beta-blockers, and alpha-blockers are some of the medications that affect sleep patterns. For example, beta-blockers are used to manage issues like migraines, heart failure, and high-pressure glaucoma and can trigger a low level of REM sleep. But they also cause daytime sleepiness that can also trigger sleep deprivation at night because the body feels rested.
You drink caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
Drinking caffeine and alcohol can affect your ability to sleep well. Caffeine interferes with adenosine production, which is a chemical that encourages sleep, and therefore keeps sleep at bay. And even if alcohol induces sleep, it affects the quality of sleep, and therefore you wake up exhausted in the morning.
Figure out if any of these factors impact your sleep, and find a way to remove it from your life because sleep is precious, and you should have at least 7 or 8 hours of quality hours of rest to stay healthy and strong.