It is commonly known that doctors recommend at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. So, why is it that so many of us don’t? Today, 1/3 of Americans report not averaging 7 hours of sleep per day, and it may be even more among teenagers and young adults. Stressful lifestyles, poor bedding, and uncomfortable sleep environments are just a few of the things that can lead to continuous sleep deprivation problems. A few of these are considered here, but there are in fact a multitude of potential causes
If you are starting to notice that you are sleeping less well ,and your mattress is around 7-10 years’ old, it may be a good idea to consider replacing your bed at this stage. Worn down beds can not only be uncomfortable, but are often also unsupportive, and as such can lead to issues like back pain and neck soreness. They can also exacerbate breathing and heart problems if you have them. Upgrading your bed can thus can be an effective solution for many common sleep problems. Not only are modern mattresses more comfortable and supportive, but many are designed with specific medical benefits in mind. You can also purchase bases which are designed for your specific sleeping position.
While your base is probably the most important in terms of your quality, you should not overlook your bedding either. If you are experiencing overall discomfort that is still preventing you from sleep, and your mattress has been replaced fairly recently, you may also consider replacing your sheets with a softer fabric, such as a ghostbed supima cotton sheet set.
Another highly common cause of sleep issues is stress and anxiety. Interestingly, stress can manifest physical changes in your body which may prevent you from sleeping. Distressing events, hectic lifestyles, and large changes can all be stress-inducing, and it is not unusual for it to cause sleep deprivation as well as bad dreams. Losing sleep can also consequently increase your feelings of agitation and reduce your overall brain function, further exacerbating your stress. While it is impossible for many of us to prevent the effects of stress entirely, there are thankfully numerous things you can to do reduce your overall levels of worry and anxiety. Identifying what is causing you to worry is a good first step in reducing your stress since once you have located what the central issues are, you can work to address them. From there, you may also consider adjusting your diet, incorporating exercise into your daily routine, or seeking social support from friends or family, all of which are linked to reducing stress. If you are still feeling regularly overwhelmed that it is causing sleep deprivation, though, it may be time to delegate or give up some of your current responsibilities. Consult a medical professional if stress or anxiety is causing you severe sleep deprivation.
An often-overlooked factor which can inhibit the quality and length of your sleep is allergic reactions occurring while you are in bed. Many common allergies to household substances cause sinus and breathing problems, which can lead to poor quality sleep, as well as difficulties falling asleep. Sheets can also gather dust quickly as a result of regular use. To prevent any negative reactions as a result of dust allergies, you should your bedding at least once a week. If you have a pollen allergy, you may also consider doing this even more regularly during peak months. If you are finding that this is still not preventing allergic reactions from disrupting your sleep, you could think about taking antihistamines prior to going to bed.
Your Sleep Environment
Excessive exposure to light or noises in your sleeping area are unsurprisingly another common cause of sleeping troubles. If your bedroom directly faces a heavy-traffic area, or due to work patterns commonly need to sleep in the day, this can affect your overall quality of sleep. While this issue should not be too disruptive for most individuals, there are thankfully plenty of simple options to fix this. Blackout curtains can effectively block any distracting lights from affecting your sleep, and earplugs can achieve something similar for auditory distractions.
If you have tried the most common ways of improving your sleep, including exercise, reducing caffeine, and avoiding late-night exposure to screens, there might be something more severe going on. If you don’t have other medical issues but have experienced serious difficulties sleeping multiple times a week for over 3 months, you may be experiencing chronic insomnia. This can cause severe and long-term health problems, including depression. It is therefore vital to contact a healthcare professional if think you may be experiencing this issue.