Getting enough sleep is just as essential for your physical and mental health as a balanced diet and exercise. While any person who gets a good night’s sleep feels good and energetic, not everyone gets enough sleep. According to the CDC, more than 75 percent of Americans between ages 20 to 59 experience routine sleep problems.
Many people experience common sleep issues, including saw logs, physical and mental restlessness, and sleep apnea. Sleep disorders are a class of medical problems that keep an individual from having enough and quality sleep.
What can cause sleeping disorders?
Various factors can trigger sleep problems, including stress, anxiety, and underlying health issues. But when sleeplessness becomes a routine and affects your everyday life, the cause may be a sleep disorder. In most circumstances, the cause of sleeping disorders includes the following factors:
- Allergies and respiratory infections – People suffering from allergies, respiratory issues, and colds are likely to experience breathing problems. This can affect their ability to breathe through the nose, causing discomfort and sleeplessness.
- Nocturia – Nocturia is a condition whereby you wake up frequently during the night for urination. UTI and hormonal problems are the leading causes of the condition. Repeatedly waking up from sleep for urinating can affect your sleep cycle, causing a sleep disorder that can affect your physical and mental health.
- Persistent pain – Unending pain resulting from conditions including arthritis, constant back pain, headache problems like migraine, hip-joint disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis can make sleep a challenge for the affected person.
- Stress and anxiety – Stress, anxiety and restless leg syndrome caused by factors like tight schedules, working during the night, certain drugs, and aging are common causes of sleep disorders.
- Narcolepsy – Narcolepsy is one of the genetic conditions that can cause sleeping problems. It is a neural sleep disorder that leaves adverse effects on the sleep cycle.
- Depression – Chronic sadness, sorrow, and gloom may cause sleep disorders; however, diagnosing the connection between the two conditions is complex.
- Medical conditions – Diabetes, heart disease, symptoms of autism, kidney issues, pulmonary disease, sensory processing disorders, and thyroid disease can also cause sleeping disorders.
Good sleep is good for your health
There was a time when sleep problems were not taken seriously and were mostly the subject of myths. Today, medical professionals are giving sleep due importance, so much so that it has given rise to a new field called occupational therapy in mental health to address the problem.
Most people now know that sleep is beneficial for their overall health. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a good night’s sleep for our physical and mental health.
Mental health benefits of sleep
- Improves your alertness – Having enough sleep during the night can make you feel more energetic and alert. You’ll feel refreshed and spend the energy on productive tasks throughout the next day.
- Enhances your memory – Researchers have found that having enough and deep sleep helps your brain consolidate memories and create connections. As such, you’ll experience improvements in your memory and mental information processing.
- Lowers the risk of depression – One of the essential chemicals in the body, serotonin determines how likely you’re to suffer from depression. People with lower serotonin levels are more at risk of depression. Sleeping for 7 to 9 hours every night helps increase your serotonin levels, lowering your risk of depression.
Physical health benefits of sleep
- Improves your cardiovascular health – Not getting enough sleep can make you more susceptible to hypertension and cholesterol imbalances.
- May prevent cancer – Research has found that individuals who work night shifts are more likely to get cancer. It occurs because exposure to light cuts down the melatonin levels, a chemical crucial to prevent cancer. Enough sleep can prevent cancers, but make sure your bedroom is dark when you want to doze off.
- Other benefits – Sleep can reduce stress and inflammation. It also prevents stroke, besides helping you to lose excess body weight. On top of that, getting enough sleep can help your body self-repair.
How to prevent sleep problems
Going to bed and getting up at fixed times every day is the most essential part of preventing sleep problems. Also, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine as they can prevent you from falling asleep and affect your sleep quality if you manage to sleep. Regular exercise and avoiding heavy meals after the evening can improve sleep time and quality.
A comfortable bed with enough pillows and a dark, cozy, and calm bedroom can help you relax and fall asleep quickly. And removing distractions like electronics and TV and switching off your mobile phone can help you get quality sleep.
It is also a good idea to use a therapeutic weighted blanket to improve your sleep. These blankets mimic the pressure of a technique called deep pressure stimulation, which makes you feel cuddled and relaxed. The pressure input of the gravity blanket will make you feel secure and warm. Weighted blankets also help your nervous system to relax and result in reduced anxiety, thanks to their deep pressure touch.