Are you tired of feeling like a zombie all day long, or are you just plain tired? Did you have another cup of coffee last night? Or did you watch another episode after saying you would stop after the last one? When was the last time you put down your phone and went to bed at the time you had planned? Oh, so many things to do, and yet so little time! But you must remember that sleep is a big part of your overall health and happiness. How you feel when you’re awake depends on the quality of your sleep. It’s common for most people to have sleep problems, so let’s talk about what you can do to deal with them.
What Are Sleep Disorders?
A sleep disorder is a medical condition that makes it hard for you to get enough good sleep. Many of us have trouble sleeping from time to time. And it’s primarily because of stress, illness, travel, or other short-term changes to your regular schedule.
However, you may have sleep problems if you often suffer from the following:
- Have trouble falling asleep at night
- Wake up feeling tired
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Unusual patterns of breathing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Troubles with keeping your emotions in control
- Daytime fatigue
Having trouble sleeping often can be frustrating and make it hard to do things. Sleep problems can greatly affect your physical and mental health, including your energy, mood, and ability to deal with stress. Choosing to ignore sleep problems can lead to:
- Weight gain
- Higher chance of car accidents
- Struggles at work
- Issues with memory
- Stress on your relationships
- Increased risk for hypertension and heart attack
If you don’t sleep well at night, you’re going to be dead tired when you wake up. And then any energy you have will wear off during the day. But even so, you will still have trouble sleeping at night, no matter how tired you are. So the cycle starts over again.
If you want to be in your best health, it’s time to get some quality sleep. You can do a lot to figure out what’s causing your sleep problem. Thus, improving your sleep, health and wellness, and life quality.
What Are The Common Types of Sleep Problems or Disorders?
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or sleep well at night. Another sign is waking up often at night and finding it hard to fall back asleep.
Insomnia also comes and goes. There are times when a person doesn’t have any trouble sleeping at all. Acute insomnia can last from one night to several weeks. Chronic insomnia is when a person has difficulty sleeping at least three nights a week for more than one month.
It can be caused by stress, a medical problem, jet lag, certain medicines, or even how much coffee you drink. Mood disorders like anxiety and depression can also cause insomnia.
- Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can be treated. If you have sleep apnea, your breathing stops for short periods of time while you sleep. Thus, waking you up often.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you might not remember these wake-ups, but you’ll probably feel tired and irritable. You might also feel sad during the day, and you might be less productive. Sleep apnea is a serious, life-threatening sleep disorder, so it’s vital to seek your physician immediately.
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that makes you want to move your legs or arms. When you’re resting or lying down, you get the urge to move because you feel uncomfortable. You will start aching, feeling tingly, or creeping sensations.
There are, however, many ways to deal with and relieve symptoms, including home remedies you can try on your own.
Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that makes it hard to stay awake during the day. It happens when the part of the brain that makes you sleep and wake up doesn’t work right. When you have narcolepsy, you can have “sleep attacks” while talking, working, or even driving.
Even though there is no cure yet, a mix of therapies and treatments can help you control your symptoms and help you do many normal things.
5 Tips To Deal With Sleep Problems
- Set up an ideal sleep environment
Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable. It would help if you tried to block outside noises from entering your bedroom and keep it as quiet as possible. If noise keeps you up at night, try listening to “white noise” or using earplugs.
Your circadian rhythms, which control when you rest and wake up, are heavily affected by the amount of light and darkness outside. During the day, when your eyes see sunlight, they tell your brain to make the hormone cortisol, which helps you stay awake and alert. When it gets dark at night, your brain makes another hormone called melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy and calm.
If you are exposed to artificial light in the evening, it might be harder to fall asleep. Avoid using screens that give off a lot of light for a long time and right before bed. If your room is bright when sleeping, try a sleeping mask or curtains that block out all light.
The quality and length of sleep are directly related to other aspects of health. Thus, a bedroom that helps you sleep better can also make you feel better when you’re awake.
- Wake up at the same time every day
Sleeping in on the weekends is tempting, especially if you slept poorly during the week. However, according to research, this irregularity can negatively affect a person’s cholesterol levels.
Another negative impact is raising the risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. These minor sleeping schedule changes are also affecting your mental state. That’s why you should start waking up and getting up at the same time every day.
If you’re a person with different daily schedules, getting up at the same time every morning is hard. It’s not always easy to stick to a strict sleep schedule, but even small changes can make a big difference.
- Limit your naps
In general, napping isn’t bad for your health. Taking short naps of less than 30 minutes can help in many ways, like making you less tired, more alert, and happier.
But how long you nap can determine whether the effects are good or bad. Even though an afternoon nap is usually safe, it could cause health problems if it lasts for a long time and becomes a habit.
Napping throughout the day, especially for too long or too often, could disrupt sleep at night. Additionally, if you nap for more than half an hour during the day, it could put you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Long naps worsen existing sleeping issues like insomnia. Limiting or eliminating naps stops the unhealthy sleeping cycle you are going through.
- Stay away from alcohol and stimulants
Nicotine and caffeine can keep you awake for hours and make it hard for you to fall asleep. Nicotine makes it hard to have a shut eye, and smoking can also make it more likely that you’ll get sleep problems, like sleep apnea. But since nicotine is a stimulant, it can hide the fact that you are tired.
Alcohol slows down brain activity and has a calming effect that can make you feel sleepy and relaxed. However, drinking too much alcohol, especially in the evening, has been linked to low-quality sleep and length.
People who drink alcohol before bed often have trouble sleeping later in the night. This is because their liver enzymes are busy breaking down the alcohol. Drinking alcohol can lead to daytime sleepiness and other problems the next day. Also, drinking to sleep can build tolerance, which means you have to drink more alcohol each night to get the same effects.
Caffeine can make it hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. One study also showed that caffeine could make your body clock run late. Because of these things, you will sleep less overall.
Taking caffeine 6 hours before bed can cut an hour off of the total amount of sleep time. The effects can also be stronger in much older adults because their bodies take longer to break down caffeine.
- Exercise regularly
Getting regular exercise can help you have longer and better sleep. Sleep quality can benefit from moderate to intense exercise since it shortens the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. In addition to reducing drowsiness throughout the day, exercise can sometimes lessen the need for sleeping aids and medication.
Anxiety and stress prevent you from falling asleep. But working out might help you unwind and battle the issues that keep you up at night. Working out regularly can help you get a better night’s sleep and improve your overall quality of life.
However, working out before bedtime can make you more awake and should be avoided. Try to be done with your workout at least three hours before you want to go to bed.
What Are The Benefits Of A Good Sleep?
A good night’s sleep is vitally crucial for one’s health. In fact, it is equally as vital as eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising. The average adult requires between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, but this varies from person to person.
A lot of things happen to the body while sleeping. The brain stores additional knowledge and eliminates harmful waste. Also, nerve cells interact and restructure to promote brain health. This is also when the body heals cells, recovers energy, and releases hormones and essential proteins.
Other benefits of good sleep are:
- Improved mood
You likely know from personal experience that sleep influences mood. You tend to be more short-tempered, irritable, and susceptible to stress after a sleepless night. After a good night’s sleep, one’s mood typically returns to normal.
- Stable blood sugar
During the deep sleep cycle, your blood glucose level decreases. Less time at the deepest stage prevents a reset of hormones. Thus, your body will have difficulty reacting to the needs of your cells and regulating your blood sugar.
- Healthy heart
Your blood pressure naturally decreases while you sleep. When you have trouble sleeping, your blood pressure stays up longer than it would. Consequently, the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke is significantly increased by hypertension.
- Enhanced mental function
The ability to focus and pay attention is essential for learning. And this is greatly improved by getting a sufficient amount of high-quality sleep. Memory, emotional processing, creativity, and problem-solving are just some of the other cognitive processes that benefit from enough rest.
- Stress relief
Sleeping lowers cortisol levels and balances the body’s systems. As a preventative measure, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. This will stop the rise in stress hormone levels and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Stronger immune system
Sleep is an important time for our bodies to rest. Also, sleep is a key part of how strong our immune systems are. In fact, sleep helps both natural and learned immunity. Research shows that most parts of the immune system work better when you sleep at night.
- Better athletic performance
Sleep is an important part of health and well-being. It significantly affects how your body grows and how well your brain works.
Athletes’ better performance and success on the field are linked to more and better sleep quality. Athletes who sleep better may be less likely to get hurt or sick. This does not only improve their health but also improves their performance by getting them to train more.
- Healthy weight management
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health and helps you keep a healthy weight. Evidence shows that people who sleep less than seven hours a night are more likely to gain weight and become obese than people who get more sleep.
Sleep problems may not be fatal, but they negatively impact your life’s quality. Sleep issues can impair your cognition, weight, performance, and mental and physical health. Other effects are tiredness, depression, social exclusion, and diminished productivity.
If you are having trouble sleeping, consult your healthcare practitioner immediately. Your health and, consequently, your quality of life depend on sleep. Practice appropriate sleep hygiene and adhere to your doctor’s advice.