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6 Surprising Ways We Sabotage Our Sleep

How well we sleep affects every aspect of our lives. Sleep should feel restorative and rejuvenating, but poor sleep quality can cause sleep deprivation, which can adversely impact our physical and emotional health. Not only that, but poor sleep can also cause our cognitive ability to decline, making it difficult to focus, concentrate, and get our work done. Clearly, quality rest is critical to overall health and well-being – which is why it is so troubling to learn just how easily we can sabotage our own desire to lie down and sleep deeply.

Numerous factors, both internal and external, affect the quality of our sleep. We know that drinking caffeine or eating spicy foods too close to bedtime can have adverse effects, but there are many other culprits that may need to be addressed.

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Internal Factors Affecting Sleep Quality

  1. Physical pain: Whether from throbbing, aching, or pinching, pain in any form can significantly disrupt sleep quality. It makes it harder for us to fall asleep and can also make us wake up throughout the night, sabotaging any chance of deep, restorative sleep. Back and neck pain and arthritis are common culprits in this regard. Proper spine alignment is one of the best ways to alleviate this type of pain, so talk to your doctor or chiropractor to get treatment. You can also ensure that you are using a mattress and pillow that offer optimal support for your head, neck and spine.
  2. Stress: Anxiety and stress are often behind our bouts with sleep deprivation, as worry really does keep people up all night. The American Psychological Association found that 43 percent of adults regularly lose sleep over stress, creating a vicious cycle – the more sleep deprivation, the higher the stress levels, causing even more difficulty falling asleep. Sleep deprivation triggers an increase in cortisol and adrenaline, elevating the heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. These responses make it nearly impossible for the body and mind to relax.
  3. Snoring: And by snoring, we mean your own snoring – not your partner’s. Snoring takes place when airflow causes a vibration against the relaxed throat tissues. It may be caused by the position you sleep in, nasal problems, or consuming alcohol – however, snoring can also indicate obstructive sleep apnea. Those with sleep apnea start and stop breathing while they sleep, causing snoring. To reduce your own snoring, try shifting your sleep position to your side or stomach, treating nasal congestion, avoiding alcohol too close to bedtime, losing weight (if applicable), and trying to normalize your sleep schedule. See a doctor if you suspect sleep apnea.

External Factors That Sabotage Sleep

  1. Light and the Circadian Rhythm: Whether natural daylight or artificial light, it affects sleep quality by disrupting our natural circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock, which determines our natural inclination to feel tired or alert. Light informs the body that it is time to be awake, while darkness triggers the need to rest. The circadian rhythm in the body responds to these signals in several ways, such as releasing sleep-promoting melatonin when darkness falls. However, light sabotages sleep quality when exposure occurs at an unnatural time. Light exposure just before bed causes melatonin production to slow down or stop, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Those struggling with sleep should avoid blue-light-emitting electronics just before bed or try blackout curtains or eye masks.
  2. Medications and Their Side Effects: Pharmaceutical drugs are a reality for millions of Americans, but the same medications that treat specific conditions and illnesses may also cause insomnia. For instance, alpha-blockers have been known to reduce the amount of REM sleep of those who take it, and beta-blockers are linked to nightmares and waking up in the middle of the night. Steroids affect the body’s ability to relax and sleep. If pharmaceutical drugs and sleep are an issue for you, you should consult with your physician.
  3. Poor Sleep Environments and Inconsistent Schedules: We speak often on this blog about how important your sleep environment is for quality rest. The ideal sleep environment is quiet, dark, and cool – all of which encourage feelings of sleepiness by increasing melatonin production. Experts recommend keeping your bedroom temperature between 60- and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If your room is too warm, open the windows or turn on a fan overhead. Inconsistent sleep schedules also sabotage restorative sleep, as the practice completely throws off your internal clock. This internal clock controls the physiological changes that direct your body to sleep or wake up. When these changes and signals are routinely ignored or suppressed, quality rest can be elusive. In fact, research indicates that irregular bed and wake-up times are linked to a higher risk of obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, and high blood sugar. Try to set a schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends.

Monarch Murphy Beds: For a Great Night’s Sleep

When guests visit, you can help them achieve quality sleep by providing them with a comfortable bed. At Monarch Murphy Beds, we help homeowners to purchase hideaway beds that are the epitome of comfort, style and design. Elevate your guest room and maximize your space by calling to schedule your private showroom visit.