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8 Factors That Could be Impairing the Quality of Your Sleep

by Staci Marks on May 16, 2012

If you feel exhausted every time your alarm sounds in the morning regardless of how much sleep you got throughout the night, there could be several factors at work. Our sleep cycles are delicate things. Even waking up numerous times throughout the night just to quickly run to the bathroom can compromise the quality of sleep we get. It might take some detective work to deduce which factors are destroying your slumber, but assessing these problems can help you to make necessary changes toward a more fulfilling night’s rest.

  1. Sugary Foods

    If you eat sugary foods late in the evening, your blood sugar will raise and the sugar will initially make you more alert. When that rush ends, you’ll crash and be able to fall asleep, but your sleep will be interrupted later in the night when your blood sugar drops too low. The sugar cravings can return strongly enough to actually wake you up. Snacking on sugar in the middle of the night can wreak havoc on your weight loss regimen.

  2. Temperature

    The optimum temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. As the core body temperature falls, a restful state ensues. If your room gets too hot in the middle of the night, this could cause you to wake up in a sweat. Additionally, when the body is in REM state, it is unable to shiver or sweat and thus becomes the same temperature as the room around it, which could awaken you if your room is too warm. The interrupted sleep will impair the overall quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling drained the following day and unable to get any work done.

  3. Pets

    You may enjoy having your dog sleep at the foot of your bed, but your pets can cause the quality of your sleep to quickly degenerate. As your pet tosses and turns throughout the night, you may awaken from their restless activity. They also may snore. If you sleep with a cat in the room, a cat’s predatory instincts kick in around four in the morning. This is when felines in the wild would hunt, and it can be even worse if a house cat has been able to sleep all day while you’re away at work. An active cat may jump on your bed, mew loudly, and paw at the curtains. The noise and movement will likely wake you up, interrupting precious sleep.

  4. Alcohol

    Drinking before bed can lessen the amount of time your body cycles through deep sleep. When you drink before bed, your body disables your parasympathetic nervous system, which normally kicks in to help you lower your heart rate and relax your muscles. Once your body metabolizes the alcohol, your sleep becomes disrupted. Most people wake for frequent trips to the bathroom. If you drank a lot, you may be dehydrated and wake up only to chug a glass of water. Without acquiring deep sleep, you’ll be exhausted the following day.

  5. Allergies

    If you suffer from allergies, you may struggle to get to sleep between the coughing, sneezing, and post-nasal drip. Treating your allergies with decongestants can worsen the insomnia, as they agitate most people. Nasal sprays and saline rinses can alleviate the symptoms best. The key is being able to breathe through your nose, as having to breathe through your mouth all night is a poor solution for quality sleep. Sleep on multiple pillows to keep your head elevated, which will encourage the mucous flow rather than having it all gather in your head and throat.

  6. Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which you have pauses in breathing when you sleep. During the paused moments, the body is startled out of deep sleep into lighter sleep, which is why it can be debilitating to getting a restful night’s sleep. The snorting sound that occurs when your breathing resumes can also wake your partner. Sadly, sleep apnea can be tricky to diagnose without going in for a sleep evaluation. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, partially blocks the air passage. When air escape through the passage, the sleeper will snore loudly.

  7. Technology Before Bed

    While it may be extremely common to watch TV, check Twitter, or play videogames before bed, these all can have negative impacts on your ability to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 95% of Americans tinker with technology prior to bed, and the bright computer screen sets up your body’s circadian rhythm for restless slumber. The interactive quality of the computer stimulates the brain, wiring it up before bed rather than winding it down.

  8. Uneven Schedule

    To ensure your body is well-rested, try to fall asleep and wake up in the morning at approximately the same time every day. Sleeping in on the weekends does not actually enable you to catch up on the sleep you missed out on earlier in the week. In fact, diverging from a set schedule can make you even sleepier during daytime hours. Obeying a routine will help your body to fall to sleep more quickly at night and even possibly awaken without the aid of an alarm clock.

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