By Stefanie Gomez
You can feel it when it happens and when you begin to wake up after a night of restless sleep. It’s hard to get out of bed when your body is telling you that it hasn’t had enough sleep to be alert, energetic or ready for the day. You can hit that snooze alarm a few times before you get up, and when you do get moving you don’t feel quite right. Thankfully for most of us this is a pretty rare occurrence but for some, chronic sleep disturbance is an every day ordeal with a variety of negative health and emotional consequences.
The first step is to identify whether you meet the criteria for a chronic sleep disorder. In an article by Health Central titled “How Do You Know If You Have a Sleep Disorder” – Allen Blaivas, M.D., goes through an inventory of questions patients should ask themselves in order to identify the frequency and causes of the problem. There are also a variety of sleep disorder inventories or surveys that a medical professional can administer to identify the presence of a formal chronic sleep disturbance, and identify some of the stressors or causes.
The Impact of Bad Sleep
There are a variety of health implications for people who experience a poor quality of sleep, and long term deprivation can have a tremendous impact on performance, mood, weight and other health aspects. According to Dr. Susan Redline, a sleep specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) “Sleep deficiency can affect mood and the ability to make memories and learn, but it also affects metabolism, appetite, blood pressure, levels of inflammation in the body and perhaps even the immune response.”
ABC News reported on the topic in 2012 with their investigative report “5 Health Hazards Linked to Lack of Sleep” which outlined the specific known emotional and physical health consequences of sleep deprivation. The article reported on a recent study of 5,600 participants which was presented at the 26th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Boston.
• Increased obesity
• Increased hypertension and risk for heart attack and stroke
• Increased diabetes risk (carbohydrate rich diet)
• Depression and Anxiety (reduced serotonin)
Chronic sleep disturbances can be caused by lifestyle factors or existing health issues including back and neck pain or sleep apnea. It can be frequently sourced back to obesity, which puts an added strain on the body creating neck, leg and lower back pain. Sleep apnea is also more common with individuals who are over weight
Frequently the quality of the bed and pillows can be blamed for bad sleep. Back and neck pain can be aggravated and worsened by pillows that do not provide adequate lumbar support. Talk to a sleep specialist to evaluate your preferred sleeping position and the appropriate pillow for you.
How to Improve Your Sleep
Before consulting a physician you can explore some common suggestions that might help you restore your quality rest. Sometimes it is a matter of making a few small changes to your diet or sleep routine in order to resolve the issue.
• Unplug electronics, laptops, mobile phones and other devices and do not bring them into the bedroom. You may be tempted to check messages rather than relaxing and focusing on getting a good night of rest.
• Put a “worry book” beside your bed and write down your concerns, check lists or other items that are keeping you from getting to sleep. Writing them on paper will help you remove the worry and get back to sleep.
• Seek medical advice if sleep problems persist for more than two weeks.
– Stefanie Gomez is associated with Essentia, manufacturers of the world’s only natural memory-foam mattresses. She understands the importance about green/Healthy living hence she generally blogs about eco-friendly lifestyle, health/wellness, healthy and sustainable living options. She is also passionate about reading, photography, cooking, gadgets and yoga.