What are Sleep Disorders?
Everyone experiences problems sleeping every once in awhile. Normal sleep disruptions can come on for a variety of reasons, including excitement, anxiety, preoccupation, feelings of stress, teeth grinding, or night terrors. While you may lose a night or two of solid sleep, typically these normal sleep disturbances resolve themselves in a short amount of time.
However, sometimes sleep disturbances are not quickly resolved. A lack of regular sleep can affect every aspect of your life, including your communication and relationships with others, your concentration, decision making, school or work responsibilities, and daily functioning. Furthermore, a lack of sleep can create significant emotional upheaval, including increased irritability, agitation, and anxiety.
Often, when we are having sleep issues, we are not able to get to the point where sleep is restful and restorative for our bodies. Our body cannot cycle through the proper stages of sleep, and therefore does not allow us to regenerate our energy and rest our minds.
Here are some common signs and symptoms that a lack of sleep is becoming an issue in your life:
- Feeling unrested when you wake up (e.g., feeling tired after 8 hours of sleep)
- Inability to fall asleep, or stay asleep, throughout the night
- Do you toss and turn for most of the night? For those of you who struggle with falling asleep, you may want to look at your bedtime routine. A bedtime routine?, you ask. Yes, as adults, we still need bedtime routines. These are routines that set your body and mind up for a successful night’s sleep.
- Do you wake up in the middle of the night? If you are waking up in the middle of the night and unable to fall back asleep, it is important to figure out the cause of waking. Is it nightmares or the need to empty your bladder? Whatever the case, instead of tossing and turning (which often leads to increased anxiety and worry about being tired the next day), get out of bed and distract yourself until you are feeling tired again. Never lie in bed tossing and turning for more than 20 minutes.
Some more sleeping tips
- Did you know that what you eat affects your sleep? Too much coffee, tea or even chocolate during the day can lead to a difficult night’s sleep. Citrus fruits and juices can also affect your sleep.
- Your television viewing affects your sleep especially what you watch right before bed, so make sure you leave some room for you body and mind to relax before bedtime. If you are watching “negative” or scary programs, that often leads to nightmares and restless sleeps.
- Go to the washroom before bed. It may sound simple, but if you are not emptying your bladder before you fall asleep, you may want to start. This is often a cause for disrupted sleep.