Sleep, being a restorative activity in your daily lives is indisputably true. One cannot question the relevance of adequate sleep in your daily lives. However, catching a good night’s sleep has become ever more elusive in the wake of your on-the-go lifestyles. It almost seems like a difficult prospect for many of you these days which is evident from the rising demand for sleeping pills in the pharmaceutical industry expected to increase by 2026.
Denying your body and mind the simple pleasure of sound sleep can take a serious toll on your health. Sleep deprivation can result in drooping energy levels, mood disorders, emotional imbalance, poor concentration levels, hampered judgment, dwindled creative acumen, daytime drowsiness, and fatigue. A case of persistent sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased likelihood to develop serious health concerns such as hypertension, inflammation, obesity, depression, stroke, and heart diseases.
Struggling to sleep every-night, experiencing frequent midnight awakenings, feeling groggy and tired every morning are all signs of poor sleep quality. Your sleep-wake patterns are determined by your biological clock which directs your body to sleep and wake up accordingly. Any deviation from the normal program irrespective of the cause may wreak havoc on your sleep cycle. Being sleep deprived perpetually can inflict serious consequences on your overall health. Hence, to address the problem of sleep deprivation, it is essential to identify the various underlying causes that are making it difficult for you to doze off effortlessly every night.
Let us uncover the various causes that are giving you a tough time coming in the way of your sound sleep:
Stress is the most common reason behind people experiencing sleep deprivation particularly due to insomnia. Although the human body is well equipped with mechanisms to counter stress; bedtime is when most of you recollect and ponder over your problems. Excessive stress if left unchecked may lead to sleep disturbances.
- Employ stress management techniques like reading, writing down your thoughts, listening to music, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing to calm yourself.
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#2 Using Electronic Gadgets
Scrolling through your phone or tablet endlessly is another reason that is making it difficult for you to get enough shut-eye. This is a harmful practice and must be done away with to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
The illuminating lights emanating from electronic devices including smartphones, televisions, laptops, and tablets is enough to meddle with your circadian rhythms. The light exposure revs up your brain activity which is not a favorable condition to fall asleep. Also, the blue light from electronic screens inhibits the production of the sleep-inducing melatonin which eventually degrades the quality of your sleep.
- Ditch your phone and other electronic gadgets an hour before bedtime.
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#3 Drinking Alcohol Close to Bedtime
Indulging in alcoholic beverages is one of the many ways to cut back on your sleep. Alcohol may initially relax you and you may doze off soon only to experience a night of fragmented sleep.
Alcohol intervenes in the REM phase of your sleep cycle such that you experience frequent disruptions in your sleep through the night. The consumption of alcohol breaks the consistency of your sleep which in turn leaves you feeling all lethargic and tired the next morning.
- Refrain from the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the late evening hours.
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#4 Consumption of Caffeinated Beverages During Evening Hours
Drinking coffee or tea in the late evening hours can deprive you of a sound sleep at night.
You easily give in to the temptations of a cup of coffee late in the evening to get going through the final stretch of the day. Caffeine is a compound that acts as a stimulant and helps perk up your activity levels. Since your body needs to rest at night, the lingering presence of caffeine consumed during the late hours of the day can disrupt your sleep later at night.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine lends support to the finding that one must refrain from caffeine intake 6 hours before bedtime to enjoy a sound sleep at night.
- Avoid consuming caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, and soda after lunchtime or switch to decaffeinated beverages for the latter part of the day.
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#5 Your Bedroom Environment
A favourable bedroom environment encourages a night of good quality sleep. It includes various parameters such as room temperature, lighting, bedroom partner among many others.
- Monitor the temperature of your room in such a way that it is neither too sweltering nor too chilly to wake you up in the middle of the night. Adjust the air conditioning of the room accordingly. Alternatively, you can also wear fuzzy socks and use a cozy blanket to keep yourself warm during winters or set up a portable fan next to your bed in the summer months.
- Equally important is a dark bedroom with no incoming lights. Exposure to light can interfere with melatonin production which is uncalled for during the night. Switch off all the lights, draw the blinds and if need be wear an eye mask to shut all ambient lighting from entering your bedroom.
- Make sure your bedroom is free from any noise. Listen to only soft music customized for sleep-time.
- You may not like it but as much love and affection your pets shower on you, they might be a reason you aren’t sleeping very well. Although pets provide a considerable amount of companionship, one cannot disregard the fact that humans and animals have distinct sleeping habits as corroborated by a study. Hence, you might experience some sort of disturbance if your pets sleep in the same room as you. Try moving your pets in a separate room for the night.
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Smoking is a cause and risk factor for several health concerns including poor sleep.
The chemical compound nicotine is a stimulant that has adverse effects on your health. Several studies have supported the negative impact of smoking on human health.
Individuals addicted to smoking habits experience poor sleeping behaviour and wake up restless the next day.
Smoking is also associated with the risk of developing a sleeping disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OAS).
- Quit smoking to ensure a restful sleep.
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#7 Underlying Medical Disorders and Prescribed Medications
The inability to enjoy a sound sleep might be a symptom of an underlying health problem or an adverse effect of prescription medicine.
Poor sleep might be a consequence of a diagnosed or an undiagnosed disease including:
- Sleeping disorders namely insomnia, and sleep apnea
- Mental health problems such as depression, and anxiety disorders
- Chronic health problems such as hypertension, blood pressure, thyroid disease, and diabetes
- Cardiovascular diseases (diseases of the heart and vascular system)
- Respiratory disorders such as bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema
- Diseases of the musculoskeletal system
- Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and stroke
Several prescription drugs are known to intervene in your sleeping behaviour either by acting as a sleep blocker or a sleep promoter.
- If you experience any alteration in your sleep quantity and quality, consult your health professional for a diagnosis or if it occurs after ingesting a particular prescription medicine consult for an alternative that does not disturb your sleep duration.
The next time you find yourself losing sleep over any of the above reasons, try listening to soft music, or meditate – but whatever you decide to engage in, avoid logging on to an OTT platform or scrolling your social media feed by any chance.