Over the past few years, many of us have struggled to sleep due to stress and other challenges amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Studies that looked at adults found that 1 in 3 participants had clinical insomnia symptoms, and nearly 20% had insomnia symptoms. Those numbers are more than double his pre-pandemic numbers.
Post-pandemic heightened reliance on gadgets has been identified as affecting sleep patterns, but psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression also contribute to sleep disturbances. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Our mental health needs a good night’s sleep as it recharges and resets the mind for optimal functioning. According to experts, without proper sleep, people become tired, irritable, aggressive, and unable to concentrate, affecting their productivity and efficiency. If related issues persist for many days and are not addressed immediately, they can lead to sleep disturbances, which can affect mental health.
Below are the most common reasons why you can’t sleep at night.
Increased use of gadgets
Increased reliance on gadgets for entertainment and relaxation post-pandemic may be one of the causes behind sleep disorders. Calling while you sleep can disrupt your sleep. The blue light emitted by mobile phones inhibits the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is produced about two hours before bedtime, and the brain associates blue light emitted from screens during the day, affecting the effects of sleep hormones.
sleep is a low priority
Have you ever sacrificed your sleep because you had to juggle work, household chores, socializing, or other chores? It is Irregular sleep schedules and staying up late can affect your night’s sleep.In the long run, it can also seriously affect your daily activities at work and college. A regular sleep schedule is extremely beneficial as it allows for optimal functioning and reduces stress.
problems associated with aging
Older people may face sleep disturbances due to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Other causes include pain from chronic diseases, insomnia and frequent urination. Some people also find it harder to fall asleep as they age. Many people keep waking up all night or early in the morning because less time is spent in deep sleep. Because sleep is frequently disrupted, older people may feel tired or sleep deprived even though total sleep time has not changed. Drinking warm milk before bed, avoiding caffeine, and not napping during the day can improve sleep in older adults.
caffeine and alcohol
Increased caffeine and alcohol intake before bedtime is not recommended. Caffeine can affect sleep duration and efficiency, so it’s best not to consume it six hours before he goes to bed. Alcohol can also disrupt your sleep, as excessive amounts will not give you a restful, deep sleep in the morning. .
mental health problems or stress
People with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety can have trouble falling asleep. Anxiety and sleep are also closely related. Anxiety can interfere with sleep, but just worrying about not getting proper sleep can also make you anxious.
Relationships, health problems, family turmoil, and work pressures—multiple life events can cause stress and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. In response to stress, your heart rate increases, chemicals are released that make your body alert to danger, and sleep is also difficult.
Sleep disorders such as insomnia, parasomnias, and sleep apnea can be serious causes of sleep disturbance. Insomnia can make it difficult to sleep the amount of time you need or wake you up early. Insomnia can also be a symptom of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. People with parasomnias experience movement and behavioral sleep disturbances such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, sleep phobia, and sleep paralysis.Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. People with sleep apnea often have trouble breathing because their breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep.
Because chemicals affect everyone differently, some medications for diseases such as asthma, heart disease, psychiatric disorders, thyroid disease, and cancer can interfere with sleep. Heart medications for high blood pressure and angina, such as beta-blockers, can lead to insomnia. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, while decongestants can cause insomnia.
Strenuous exercise within an hour before bed makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep. Exercise increases your heart rate, stimulates your nervous system, and makes it harder for your body to relax. A 1997 study found that exercising in the evening delayed his melatonin production 24 hours later, affecting his sleep the next day.
poor sleep environment
Bedroom noise and light can be uncomfortable to relax and prevent uninterrupted sleep. Street lights, night lights, or even a cluttered room can lead to sleep disturbances.
unusual work schedule
Working unusual hours, such as the graveyard shift or the early morning shift, can affect circadian rhythms. Sleep may not be very refreshing because you rest at odd hours. Sleeping against the clock can make it difficult to close your eyes properly as your body tries to sleep during the day when it expects you to be awake. Frequent or random rotation of shift timing makes it impossible to have a regular sleep pattern. Research shows that proper shift rotation helps employees be more productive and efficient.
drink protein before bed
Foods like meat before bed may not result in a smooth sleep session because protein requires longer time and more energy to digest. Up to 50% slower. It is recommended to have carbs for a good sleep as they help release serotonin which is known to aid sleep.
Practice good sleep hygiene
Putting away your phones and gadgets will help you relax and fall asleep faster. Please put the phone outside the room. Replace your phone with an alarm clock if you like. Change into comfortable clothes and relax. Make sure the room temperature is comfortable and the light is not too strong.
Read something less interesting or exciting as it helps your body to relax and feel sleepy. If you can’t sleep, try counting backwards. If you’re struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, or other sleep disorders, it’s important to consult a mental health professional.
(Rashmi Bagri, psychologist at Mpower Helpline)