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What are some Factors that can Disrupt our Sleep?

You’ve been working hard to establish a healthy sleep routine.

Still having trouble? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that might be setting you back in your journey. Addressing these might just be the key to getting a good night’s sleep!

Stress

One of the most common reasons for disrupted sleep is stress. Challenges and responsibilities at work, school and home can incite anxiety responses that keep us awake at night. If we continually experience this, a negative cycle can form; our stress levels negatively affect our sleep, and our lack of sleep rises our stress levels. As this cycle goes on, Sleep Deprivation or even Insomnia can set in, and the pattern becomes more and more difficult to break.

Generalised stress management has become a lot more commonplace in modern society to combat this, particularly for those working in high-risk or high-demand industries.

Sleep Disorders

There are a range of sleep disorders that may also be affecting your ability to sleep well. These include Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleep Apnoea, Narcolepsy, and Insomnia, among others.

Restless Leg Syndrome: Defined as “…(an) unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation(s) in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them.” – Office of Communications and Public Liaison, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

While the exact cause/s of RLS are unknown, we do know that it is more likely to affect the middle-aged and elderly, and that the likelihood of experiencing the disorder doubles for women.

Sleep Apnoea: Defined as “… (occurs) when a person’s throat is partly or completely blocked while they are asleep, causing them to stop breathing.” – Healthdirect.gov.au

These ‘apnoea episodes’ can occur multiple times in one night, and although we are often largely unaware of them, they can severely disrupt our natural sleep cycle. Sleep apnoea has also been linked to diabetes, chronic migraines and stroke.

Narcolepsy: Defined as “… excessive daytime sleepiness … repeated episodes of sleep attacks, falling asleep involuntarily at inappropriate times … several times every day.”  – Victoria State Government, Better Health.

Insomnia: Defined as “(experiencing a) … persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality.” – SleepFoundation.org

Blue Light

There are multiple sleep studies that suggest Blue Light frequencies contribute to our lack of sleep. Our brain struggles to make a distinction between Blue light frequencies emitted from our electronic devices and those found naturally in during the day. Because of this, our production of Melatonin, AKA the ‘sleepy hormone’, is reduced. Without proper levels of Melatonin, our brain won’t signal to the rest of the body that is it time to sleep.

Caffeine, Sugar, Alcohol and Nicotine

Caffeine, Sugar and are all categorized as Stimulants. As this definition suggests, Stimulants work to stimulate our system. Since our system needs to be relaxed to begin the descent into sleep, consuming Caffeine and Sugar in the few hours before bed is highly likely to keep us awake.

Alcohol, while categorised as a Depressant, still prevents our system from settling into a healthy sleep routine. It may make it easier for us to fall asleep initially, but our liver eventually has to work through it. This means our important sleep cycle is disrupted later on in our sleep.

Do you think your sleep might be affected by some of the above?

I hope you enjoyed learning about factors that can disrupt our sleep! Join us next time for more information on maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.

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