Interrupted sleep: Causes and prevention

bed-945881_1280Some people say that, “It’s better to lack sleep, than not waking up at all” but how about interrupted sleep? Well, if you think that lack of sleep is worst, think again, because interrupted sleep is just as bad.

Recent studies show that, fragmented sleep or being woken up throughout the night does a lot more damage than getting lesser hours of sleep. The quality and quantity of sleep can be affected by various factors; wherein quality of sleep refers to the ability of the individual to stay asleep and whereas quantity refers to the total time the person sleeps.

Some of the factors that could cause sleep interruption

  • Illness: Illness can cause pain or physical distress that can result in sleep problems. it can also be respiratory conditions such as shortness of breath or those people with nasal congestion or sinus problem which can disrupt a person’s sleep. Even the need to urinate at night can lead to interruption of sleep.
  • Environment: A person living in a noisy neighborhood  with noisy pets, that would make noise even in the wee hours can be great factor that interrupts sleep.
  • Lifestyle: if your used to working on a night shift, then its suddenly changes to a day shift, a busy boss who gets bothered by calls even after office hours, or a medical professional with undetermined work schedule.
  • Smoking: nicotine has a stimulating effect on the body, smokers are also said to be light sleepers because they get easily aroused by outside stimulants hence resulting to disruption of sleep.
  • Emotional stress: a person preoccupied with problems may suddenly waking up at night, or may feel stiff or non-relaxed.

Other factors may include diet and medications.

Stan Jacobs said that,“ It is in your best interest to avoid sleep debt, otherwise be prepared to pay both the debt and the interest.”

Sleep is a basic human need. Though some say, we need at least 8 hrs continuous sleep every night, it has also been suggested that maintaining a regular sleep pattern is more important than the number of hours one actually sleep, thus, failure to achieve so, may result to physiological damage in both nervous system and other body structures because sleep helps in restoration of normal levels of activity and aids in balance among parts of the nervous system, it is also necessary for protein synthesis , which allows repair processes in the body to occur.
Deterioration in mental functioning is one good example of the effects of sleep interruption. A person who wakes up now and then during sleep time is more likely to be emotionally irritable or grumpy, have poor concentration and have difficulty in making decisions.

So how do we enhance a good continuous sleep?

The major goal for individuals with sleep interruptions is to maintain or develop a good sleeping pattern that will restore well being and provide energy for the whole day, this may include:

  • Avoid doing exercise just before bedtime. If you do exercise at night, do it at least two hours before bedtime
  • Discontinue smoking and drinking
  • Creating a restful environment and reducing distractions, less noise, just the right room temperature, good ventilation and lightning is the key to maintaining a good sleep.
  • Treat your bedroom as a place to relax and sleep. Its not your office and not the entertainment area of the house so refrain from doing your work in your bed, turn off phones and as much as possible avoid television inside the bedroom.
  • Learn stress reduction and relaxation techniques, wear loose fitting night wear, keep bed linens are clean and dry. Some may like a warm bath and drinking warm milk before bed , some people may like to play instrumental music in the background others light candles with relaxing scents. I would say, forgive and pray.

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