Sleep is one of those things you can’t do without. A lack of sufficient amounts of sleep impairs cognitive functioning, compromises your immune system, and even increases the chances of developing certain illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension. Sleep requirements vary from person to person; however, the recommended amount of sleep for adults is anywhere from seven to nine hours. A deviation from this norm often results from insomnia and could indicate an underlying issue.
Insomnia and What It Indicates
Insomnia affects roughly one-third of all adults in the course of their lifetime. Out of that number, about 10 to 15 percent suffer from chronic insomnia. If you have chronic insomnia, you’ll find that you have difficulty falling asleep and, even after a night’s rest, you might not feel well-rested. Taking certain medications or stuff like nicotine and caffeine are common causes of insomnia.
Extended periods of insomnia could indicate a medical issue that needs attention. A few examples of medical conditions that cause insomnia include depression, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, sleep apnea, and backache, to name a few. If you’re suffering from continued bouts of chronic insomnia, then it’s best to seek medical advice.
Other Possible Causes of Poor Sleep Patterns
Poor Diet Practices:
If you suffer from regular lack of sleep or difficulty in sleeping, then that could be down to unhealthy dietary choices. Eating foods that are high in unhealthy saturated fats and sugar while neglecting high-fiber content food could result in reduced deep-sleep. Be sure you refrain from high levels of caffeine and maintain a well-balanced diet. That way, your body gets enough time to recover and restore your physical and mental energy.
Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
You might think that taking a glass of wine just before bed couldn’t hurt. It’s only one glass after all. However, alcohol use shifts what’s known as the sleep homeostatic mechanism, which causes more regular sleep disruptions. You’ll find yourself waking up more often in the middle of the night, and this interferes with the quality of your sleep.
Whenever you’re stressed, your body naturally produces hormones that are designed to cater to the “fight or flight” scenario. The two main hormones produced when you’re stressed are cortisol and adrenaline. An elevation in cortisol is a primary cause of sleep disturbance, while elevated adrenaline levels increase the heart rate and blood pressure levels. Therefore, stress directly affects your sleep patterns, impacting on your health.
Irregular Sleeping Times
Perhaps you work a long shift, or you have an intense job that has you working extensive hours to meet deadlines. If that’s the case, then you’ll find yourself sleeping and waking up at odd hours. Continued periods of irregular sleep increase your overall risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension. Aside from health issues, your irritability levels will also increase, making you a not-so-friendly individual to be around.
How to Improve Your Sleep for Better Health
Get Decent Sleeping Tools
What you sleep on dictates how well you sleep. So, if you suffer from an ailment such as backache, then a possible solution would be to get a mattress explicitly designed to counter your issue. The best mattresses for back pain feature adaptive foam for a bouncy yet supportive feel that’s ideal for all sleeping positions.
Additionally, if neck aches cause you to lose sleep at night, then consider getting a pillow that offers sufficient support. The best pillows for neck pain come with gel-infused foam that absorbs body heat to help regulate your body temperature. These pillows also take any unhealthy weight off your head, neck, and shoulders, helping to ease your sleeping process.
Incorporate Clean Sleep:
Clean sleeping is a sweeping trend that a lot of people are taking up. It’s a term that was invented by Gwyneth Paltrow and is a practice that prioritizes sleep above all other activities. Clean sleeping is all about behaviors and habits that improve the quality of your sleep to help you feel super rested. So, what does it entail?
It’s a bit of an open concept that you can customize based on your preferences. However, some of the basics involve habits such as putting away smartphones and tabs an hour before bed and sleeping in a room with no lights. Additionally, clean sleeping suggests that you should get nine to ten hours of sleep each night for a complete resting period. That way, you’ll achieve better sleep for better health.
Avoid Long Daytime Naps
For some reason, those afternoon hours come with a feeling of lethargy, and the temptation to take a nap seems to increase tenfold. However, it’s vital to fight that urge to nod off, particularly for long periods. Yes, brief naps, more popularly termed as “power naps,” are a great way to get that burst of energy you need. But long naps that exceed half an hour could prove detrimental to your night sleep.
Daytime naps can also cause a condition known as sleep inertia that leaves you feeling disoriented and tired afterward. If you must nap, then do so in the early afternoon. Ideally, this could be after lunch. An increase in your frequency of naps could indicate a health issue collectively known as metabolic syndrome that increases your likelihood of developing diabetes or heart disease. Therefore, if you observe an increase in your naps, then consult your doctor.
A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that exercise significantly improves chronic insomnia. A session of moderate aerobic exercise such as walking helps to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Exercise also increases the length of sleep for people with insomnia, therefore helping alleviate issues associated with insomnia, including depression, anxiety, and hypertension. Exercise also has positive effects on circadian rhythms, which regulate sleep allowing for better sleep quality.
Your sleep patterns dictate a lot about your health, and that’s why it’s vital to adopt better sleeping tactics. Take into consideration incorporating healthier sleeping habits for a healthy, well-rested body and mind. Think about it: you need to sleep almost as much as you need to eat. So, nourish and care for your body with sufficient rest.