In this increasingly fast-paced world that we live in, lack of sleep is more common than we think. Knowing what affects your sleep can help you to take action and prevent insomnia.
Here are the 5 usual reasons why you can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) – imagine feeling a constant urge to walk around. This what people suffering from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) goes through as they have to move around to relieve the uncomfortable sensations in their legs. They have describe these sensations as painful, tingling, itching or crawling. The discomfort worsens when the body is relaxed. Hence, it is difficult for these individuals to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Sleep Apnea – people with sleep apnea cannot sleep well because they stop breathing or have shallow breaths for brief periods while sleeping. This happens either because the airway has collapsed or because the brain does not send correct signals to breathing muscles. Breathing then resumes, sometimes with a snort or a choking sound. If you are obese, snore loudly and constantly feel sleepy during the day, chances are that you have sleep apnea.
Today’s hectic lifestyle keeps us constantly on our toes. Whether at work, at home, or on the roads, we experience stress. Many of us have lost sleep worrying about something. When we feel stressed, the body increases its levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), causing sleeplessness.
Stress also results in poor sleep. Scientists found that people who were stressed woke up more often during the night and had less deep sleep, a stage of sleep that allows the brain and muscles to rest.
Foods high in spice, fat and acid tend to trigger heartburn, a burning sensation felt behind the breastbone. As lying down makes heartburn worse, such food could keep one awake for the bulk of the night. Snacking on high-fat, low-fibre food such as meat products just before bedtime could lead to indigestion, which then leads to insomnia.
Caffeine in food such as coffee, tea, cola and guarana stimulates the central nervous system and may aggravate stomach discomfort, adversely affecting sleep. A study in the United States found that nicotine deteriorates areas of the brain that control rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (the last stage of sleep), wich scientists say is essential to health.
According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol disrupts REM sleep as well. NIAAA reports that alcoholism also increases the risk of having obstructive sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that interupts sleep.
An uncomfortable environment makes for uneasy sleep, and several factors contribute to such an environment, for example:
Technological advances have reduced daily levels of physical activity. Most work is done facing computer screens while sitting down. Such sedentary lifestyles affect sleep because not enough energy is expended to exhaust the body.
As a result, the brain never receives signals that the body is tired at bedtime, causing difficulty in falling asleep. Most people do not have sleep problems, instead, they are just not tired ‘enough’ to fall asleep.