Sleep is vitally important for good health, to allow your body to recover and to enable you to learn, be creative and concentrate throughout the day. The brain performs many important tasks while you are asleep such as forming memories and going through the day’s events.
Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. As a mother with a newborn I am reminded of just how precious sleep is! Sleep seems like a good friend I have said “Goodbye” to for the coming months. Often when we have the opportunity to have a good night’s rest we take it for granted. It is easy to forget the importance of prioritising sleep to feel properly refreshed and to function your best the next day.
There are many reasons why you may not be getting a good nights rest.
Here are the Top Causes of Inadequate Sleep:
- Stress – extended periods of stress or high levels of stress may interfere with your sleep and create poor sleep patterns that last longer than the initial stressful period.
- Too much caffeine, alcohol and sleeping tablets – the caffeine in tea and coffee is a stimulant that may prevent you from getting to sleep or staying asleep. Alcohol may make you drowsy but may result in a restless night sleep. Occasional sleeping tablets may be ok however regular use should be avoided.
- Too much stimulation close to bedtime – failing to wind down before bed by playing computer games, watching TV and even exercising may prevent you from getting a good night’s rest.
- Side effects of drugs or medications – some prescription drugs and even over the counter drugs may interfere with your sleep. If you suspect this may be the case, check with your doctor.
- Shift work – many occupations require changing sleep patterns regularly. This makes it harder to establish a regular sleep pattern and interrupt your natural body clock.
- Jet lag – changing time zones takes several days to allow your body clock to adjust to and may also disturb your quality of sleep.
- Sleep disorders, sickness or medical conditions– such as sleep apnoea, restless legs, asthma or even a common cold may cause poor sleep or inadequate sleep. You may not personally suffer from these but if you share the bed with someone who does your sleep may also be affected.
- Pregnancy – frequent urination, leg cramps, discomfort or reflux may all impact on your sleep especially during the final months of your pregnancy.
Whilst one or a combination of these reasons may be interrupting or disturbing your sleep, there are many strategies for improving the quality and quantity of sleep you have. For more tips on getting a good night’s rest read here.
Article written by Dr Melanie Woollam (Osteopath)