Factors Affecting Sleeping Patterns


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There are many different factors that can affect your sleeping pattern and when certain lifestyle habits are changed, you may experience a vast difference to your feeling of wellbeing. A routine is essential, more significantly the getting up than the going to bed, as the body-clock becomes aware of the time the body needs to be ready to begin the day’s activities and controls the difference between wakefulness and sleepiness.

Whilst regulating your sleeping times is a simple task and easy advice to take, other factors that may affect your sleep are less straight forward. This is because, sleeping patterns, vary from person to person and it may be important for you to try and find what amount of sleep is better for you. Other factors that can be controlled and changed to help you sleep are:

Environment

Mostly, a quiet environment for sleeping is the most preferred. However, some people find a familiar noise e.g. traffic, is comforting when they fall asleep. Again, it is your own preference.

Bedroom

A cooler bedroom is thought to enable a better environment for sleep as it mirrors the fall in the core body temperature of the sleeper. Hotter environments can lead to a more disturbed night’s sleep as it affects the REM sleep and can lead to more awakenings during the night. Please note that the environment can be affected by what the sleeper is wearing, the duvet size and the fluctuating temperature of the sleeper.

Mattress

Sleeping on a good quality bed and mattress can make all the difference to your sleeping pattern. Second hand or older beds, due to their poor hygiene, can cause sleep disturbance, leaving you feeling tired, irritable and in some cases, unwell. A mattress will absorb a lot of moisture and skin cells over its lifetime, making it a perfect environment for the house dust mite. This is thanks to, on average, an adult perspiring and breathing out around 1/2 litre of moisture every night, as well as shedding about half a kilo of dead skin per year! This is why it is important to not only clean your bedding and mattress on a regular basis, but to also change your mattress and bed about every 10 years – keeping your sleeping environment clean, and more importantly keeping yourself healthy.

Clutter Free

A bedroom that is free of electronic devices is also thought to aid a better night’s sleep as the room becomes solely a place that the sleeper enters to sleep. Watching TV in bed is a delay for actual sleep to commence and is thought to steal valuable sleep time. Removing clutter from your room will hopefully help remove the clutter from your mind!

Light

A dark room is favoured by most to fall asleep in, but a natural light in the morning when you are waking up is thought to make you feel more alert and more willing to get out of bed as it mirrors dawn and the natural process of waking up.

Stimulants

Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine before you sleep can help your body relax quicker as these will stimulate the body rather than letting it unwind.

Awake/Sleepy

Go to bed only if you are feeling tired and feeling as if you can sleep. If you do find that you go to bed and you cannot sleep, it is better to get up and do a quiet activity, such as reading, for 15-20 minutes. This will relax your mind and take away the pressure you may put on yourself to sleep. If you continue to lie there willing yourself to sleep you may only stress yourself further away from sleep.

Naps

Try not to nap during the day as this will affect your sleeping pattern, and if you cannot keep awake, then nap for no longer than an hour.

Baths

Having a bath may relax you as water can have a calming effect on us. It is also thought to cause a reactive decrease in our body temperatures which allows us to sleep more readily.

Eating & Drinking

Try not to go to bed on a full stomach as the body will still be trying to digest the food. Equally, going to bed hungry may disrupt your sleep. Drinking before bed may disturb your sleep as you may need to urinate during the night, so try to avoid drinking about an hour before bed.


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