ADDICTION to technology, early-morning boot camps, shift-work and longer commutes are being blamed for a deterioration in quality sleep.
‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead,’ goes the expression. Unfortunately, that may be sooner rather than later if you keep skipping out on shut-eye
People are increasingly suffering from insomnia and disturbed sleep, even though the average length of time we spend sleeping has extended by 10 minutes since 1992 to eight hours and 30 minutes.
“People are turning their bedrooms into home theatres and offices instead of a place for sleep and the three-letter word,” sleep physician Associate Professor Brendon Yee said.
“Studies have shown there is an increasing use of technology in bed, such as people using Facebook and Twitter on their iPads or iPhones.”
Feeling bushed? Do you wake in the morning even more tired than you were when you went to bed?
Fatigue could be a simple matter of not getting enough sleep. Most times, this is related to poor sleep habits and busy, active lives. Stress also can be a factor.
Poor sleep on an ongoing basis could lead to a diagnosis of insomnia, in which people have problems with daytime activities because they have difficulty sleeping. Poor sleep also can be a symptom of other medical issues, such as lung disease, heart problems, a thyroid disorder or depression.
Just about everyone has trouble falling asleep every once in a while, with varying effects on their quality of life. In a survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35.3 percent of adults reported they slept less than seven hours out of 24, while 37.9 percent said they fell asleep during the day at least once in the previous month.
Sleep enables our bodies to do the important work of repair and relaxation. We internalize memories and information we have learned during the day when we sleep.
Chronic insomnia can be a serious matter. When we are tired we are far more likely to make mistakes or be involved in accidents.
External factors also contribute to how well we slumber. Shift workers have the double challenge of trying to sleep while most people are active – and often making noise – in addition to the challenge of going against the body’s circadian rhythms, the biological urge to be awake during light hours and sleep when it’s dark.
Sleep deprivation also has been linked to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and disorders of the immune system. Lack of shut-eye can even make us gain weight by impacting the way our bodies metabolize carbohydrates.
“People need to ensure they cut down on sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks, and not use technology too close to bedtime. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and ensuring there is darkness and ventilation in your room are also good ways to help get to sleep.”
In Search Of Sleep Solutions?
Work Out Regularly, For Starters
In a study of about 3,000 adults aged 18-to-85, getting 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise was linked to a 65 percent improvement in quality of sleep.
Avoid Simple Sugars Before Bed
These can spike your blood sugar, leading to a nocturnal crash. Your glucose-starved brain will detect this change and sound internal alarms that will wake you up. It’s a survival instinct.
Turn your bedroom into a cool, dark, sleep-cave! According to the New York Times, studies have found that, in general, optimal temperature for sleep is 60-to-68 degrees Fahrenheit. As your body temp decreases, your sleepiness increases.
Are you afraid of the dark? Get over it. Todd Arnedt, director of the University of Michigan Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, says that bright light too close to bedtime can make sleeping difficult.
Light tells your brain it’s daytime instead of night, making your biological sleep clock turn off. Light doesn’t frighten away closet monsters; falling asleep quickly does.
Good Night, Sweet Electronics
Your television, no matter how flat the screen is, does not belong in the bedroom. Cell phones, iPads, and laptops should be turned off well before you hit the sack.
A sleep study by the National Sleep Foundation found that 95% of people surveyed used some type of electronic device within an hour before bed.
Dr. Lauren Hale, one of the researchers, says that light-emitting electronic devices can suppress melatonin, making it hard to fall asleep.
Of course a giant glass of Cognac would put anyone out, but staying asleep after some serious boozing is tough. After your body processes the alcohol, sleep is often fragmented by frequent wake-ups.
Passing out from alcohol is not a healthy type of sleep; it takes hours away from your natural sleep cycle. If you must imbibe, do it at least three hours before you go to bed.
Sleeping with your spouse on a full? Napping with your butt on a spring? If your mattress isn’t comfortable, sleep probably won’t come easy.
Professor Michael Decker explains that lying on your body for extended periods of time reduces blood flow, which can cause pain and/or pressure. Your mattress should reduce this pressure, support your spine and cushion your whole body.
It should also be big enough for you and your partner to sleep without an elbow in the face.