Back in the 1980s, there was an emphasis on productivity and multi-tasking. It was all about getting as much done in the day as possible. Of course, that meant many people skimped on sleep, thinking it would give them an edge.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Doctors and health experts now warn that lack of quality sleep can be a serious health hazard. Sleep deprivation can cause everything from weight gain to a suppressed immune system. It also negatively impacts cognitive performance, memory and creativity. There’s even evidence that lack of sleep contributes to mental health problems.
When it comes to getting the recommended amount of shut-eye (7-9 hours a night) you may get to bed on time, but falling asleep and staying asleep could be a problem. There are many factors that could be disturbing your sleep, many of which can be fixed so you can rest easy.
Worn Out Mattress
With so many things that can disturb our sleep, preventable issues like lying on a worn out old mattress doesn’t have to be one of them. An old mattress starts to give over time and will no longer provide support like it used to. It can also collect dust, debris and mites that cause allergies to flare up.
Buying a new mattress with ample support is a good investment for your health. It’s important to feel, sit and lie down on mattresses to gauge the comfort and support level. You can also choose an adjustable mattress that can provide various levels of support.
Your Pillow Doesn’t Provide Support
Your pillow is like an extension of the mattress. Pillow support and comfort is equally important if you want to get a good night’s sleep. Your pillow should fill the space between your head and the mattress. If it doesn’t it could cause neck strain that makes sleep difficult.
A body pillow could also be a good idea if you experience hip, leg or shoulder strain. Hugging a body pillow helps to alleviate the strain so it doesn’t disturb sleep.
Up until a few years ago, many people had never heard of the condition known as sleep apnea, even if they had it. That’s because sleep apnea occurs during slumber and shows few symptoms while a person is awake. Despite the lack of symptoms, sleep apnea is a serious condition that not only disturbs your sleep, it can lead to death.
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep-disordered breathing that is often marked by snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can cause the airway to become blocked and stop breathing for up to 10 seconds. These disturbances can happen hundreds of times in a single night.
While the problem is troubling in and of itself, the real concern is that sleep apnea is becoming more common among children and adolescents. Health experts note that increasing rates of obesity are contributing to the problem.
In addition to shedding excess weight, there are devices that can be worn during to prevent breathing and sleep disturbances. If you’re a heavy, chronic snorer that’s experiencing sleep deprivation schedule a doctor’s visit to see if sleep apnea is the problem.
Eating Late at Night Before Bed
It takes a lot of work for the human body to process food. All the activity that’s going on inside the body can make it difficult to get to sleep. More importantly, eating before bed can throw off your blood sugar levels.
After eating your blood sugar rises, but a little while later when you’re asleep it crashes. The drop in blood sugar causes a spike in the stress hormone cortisol. That cortisol release can cause sleep disturbances among other problems. Sleep easier by cutting off all food consumption a few hours before bedtime.
Sitting in Front of Screen Before Bed
Our bodies have natural rhythms that work largely off of light. When the eyes register light it tells the brain that it’s daytime and keeps you active. Even light from screens can throw off the body’s natural sleep rhythm.
To avoid tossing and turning, it’s best to shut off all screens at least an hour before bedtime. Create a routine where the last hour of the night is spent getting ready for bed and relaxing rather than sitting in front of the TV or a computer.
There’s nothing more frustrating than tossing and turning in bed. Taking the steps above will help eliminate many of the worst sleep disturbances so that your brain and body get much-needed rest.
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