Having a low quality of sleep is becoming the norm these days. Recent studies show that approximately 30% of adults in the United States experience a sleeping disorder. Sleeping difficulties can lead to mild and severe effects on a person’s health. It can also cause short-term problems like mood and behavioral changes and more severe anxiety and depression issues.
If you lie in bed awake late at night and find yourself feeling tired the next day, you might have a sleep disorder. Various factors can contribute to your inability to fall asleep. There are plenty of things that you can do and avoid doing to get a good night’s sleep.
The following are some of the prominent signs of sleep deprivation:
- daytime fatigue
- difficulty concentrating
- staying awake for more extended periods at night
- waking up multiple times at night
- difficulty falling asleep at night
You can prevent the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on people’s health by understanding the common reasons for poor sleep. Identifying the factors that might interrupt your sleep can allow you to address the problem as soon as possible. By making a timely corrective decision, you can prevent short-term and long-term sleep deprivation effects.
The following are the most common factors behind sleep deprivation:
Poor Sleep Habits
Sleeping problems often arise from the fact that people these days have an unhealthy bedtime and nighttime routine. They regularly perform stimulating activities in the bed, like watching TV or using their phone or laptop, staying up late, drinking excess in the late evening, etc. These things can make it hard for a person to fall or stay asleep during the night.
If your sleeping problems are a result of poor nighttime habits, you can try the following to manage your sleep:
- Create a sleep schedule:- going to bed and waking up at the same time each day and night can significantly improve the quality of sleep you get.
- Establish a bedtime routine:- try finishing off all the work before going to sleep. You can read, take a bath, or do some breathing exercises to prepare your brain for a good night’s sleep. Doing this for 30 minutes before sleeping each night can relax your mind and body and help you achieve quality sleep.
- Avoid working in your bedroom:- You might feel like bringing your laptop to the bed and finish the work you were doing. Doing this can make it harder for your brain to distinguish your bedroom from the workplace, which will harm your sleep quality.
- Refrain from eating fatty foods in the evening:- Food rich in fats can make put your digestive system to work, more so than any other type of food. When your stomach is hard at work, you might find it difficult to fall asleep.
- Sleep in a dark room:- Excess of light coming from a lamp or window can interfere with your sleep. It is best to turn off electronics and close the window curtains to darken the room before sleeping. Also, the light from your phone or computer that you use before going to bed can impact your sleep quality.
Problems With Room Temperature
Trying to sleep at a place that is either too cold or too hot can significantly disrupt your sleep. Extreme temperatures make a person uncomfortable. And not being comfortable in your sleeping space can have a severe impact on your mind’s and body’s ability to fall and stay asleep. Its often seen that turning the temperature down can help with getting a good night’s sleep.
Turning the thermostat down aids in sleeping because as you go to sleep, your body temperature decreases, simulating cold can make you fall asleep faster. Study shows that room temperature plays a significant role in determining whether you will sleep well each night. Another study found that sleeping in a warm room can decrease the amount of REM and slow-wave sleep.
There is no universal temperature for making a person sleep better. Everyone feels comfortable at a different temperature. So, to get adequate sleep, keep a note of how you feel each night and experiment with different temperature settings to see if any temperature changes affect your sleep quality. If you own a smart temperature control device, you can program it to bring the temperature down at a specific time each night.
Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine’s effects can last from anywhere between two and 12 hours. While it is a bad idea to drink a cup of coffee right before going to bed, you can also find it hard to fall asleep if you consume caffeine late in the evening. However, if you drink strong coffee or a large amount of it in the afternoon, you might still feel its effects in the night in the form of an inability to fall asleep.
Limiting caffeine consumption to the morning and avoiding substances that contain caffeine after 2 PM may cause a significant increase in your sleep quality. While it is easy to limit the consumption of coffee, tea, and soft drinks as prominent caffeine sources, you should also be on the lookout for food substances containing varying amounts of caffeine. These foods and beverages include protein bars, chocolate, ice cream, pain killers, and some flavored water. Try avoiding eating these before going to bed.
Too Much Stress
Stress is among the most common reasons why people may struggle to fall asleep. If you find yourself in bed awake worrying about the things you need to do the next day or thinking about more significant issues you are facing, you won’t fall asleep.
Stress levels of people with anxiety are also high, and researchers found a connection between insomnia and anxiety. People who experience sleeping problems also often have comorbid mental health issues. It is a problematic condition because studies found that this works in both ways. Anxiety and insomnia have a bidirectional relationship, meaning having anxiety can deteriorate your sleep quality, and lack of sleep can worsen your anxiety.
You can try some things that may help control stress and keep you from worrying about stuff that keeps you up all night. Effective treatment for insomnia can be a technique called progressive muscle relaxation. As the name suggests, this exercise involves progressively tensing and relaxing the muscle repeatedly throughout the body; it will help the muscles and mind relax.
Regular exercise can be important for maintaining quality sleep. Remaining active each day can help you sleep better at night, which means you may be more likely to be energetic enough to get regular exercise.
However, doing exercise during evening hours might wreak havoc on your sleep. Though its hard to find time for exercising during the day, you should try to avoid intense heart-pumping exercises at least three hours before going to bed.
According to the American Heart Association, adults need 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, with 75 minutes of intense activity, or a mild and vigorous exercise. Doing these exercises in the morning or early afternoon is essential for not deteriorating your sleep quality. However, you can practice light activities like yoga and casual waking in the evening.
Alcohol Before Bedtime
Drinking a glass of wine or alcoholic beverage might make you feel sleepy, but it can interrupt your sleep if consumed in excess before going to bed. While alcohol tends to produce a feeling of drowsiness, it impairs the sleep cycle by disrupting the natural circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the master regulator or internal clock regulating the body’s immunity, metabolism, energy levels, and sleep.
A study looking at alcohol’s effect on sleep found that moderate alcohol consumption can lower sleep quality by 24%. If you consume it in high concentration, alcohol produces a decline of about 39% in sleep quality.
While heavy alcohol consumption can worsen your sleeping experience, it doesn’t mean that you have to avoid it altogether. Try to make sure that you are only consuming it in moderate quantity to avoid its intense effects. According to health experts, a controlled alcohol intake constitutes two drinks per day for men and only one drink in a day for women. However, it is best to limit alcohol consumption to two or three drinks per week to minimize its effects on your sleep quality.
Many adults in the United States have a sleeping disorder. The most prevalent are insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, and parasomnias. While these disorders are common, researchers found that most people with these conditions remain underdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Studies show that less than 20% of people with insomnia get proper diagnosis and treatment for their condition.
Apart from insomnia, sleep apnea is the most disruptive sleeping disorder a person can have. People with this disorder face the problem of impaired breathing during their sleep. Due to upper airway obstruction, their breathing may stop multiple times during the night for 10 seconds or longer. It also increases their heart rate and decreases blood oxygen levels, which disrupt the sleep as the person has to wake up to breathe. If you experience any of these sleeping disorder, try consulting a doctor. Your general physician may advise you to see a sleep specialist who can suggest special remedies and lifestyle changes that may help you with your sleeping disorder. Seeking professional help is often the best thing you can do to combat sleeping disorders.