The Sleep Stealers

Our body needs to recharge after a day’s hustle and bustle of activities. According to experts, adults need at least 8 hours of sleep every night. But sometimes we find it hard to fall and stay asleep due to several physical, mental and environmental factors – the sleep stealers.

What Are Sleep Stealers?

We have compiled a list of possible sleep stealers. They include:

  • Stress-  Experts consider stress as the leading cause of sleeping difficulties. It includes academic or career-related pressures, relationship problems and family crisis.
  • Lifestyle stressors-  Some of our daily habits may bring about sleeping problems. One should avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages less than five hours before bedtime; going to bed too full or too hungry; engaging in mentally-challenging activities before going to bed, or; exercising too close to bedtime.
  • Noise-  Experts believe that noise level at 40 – 70 decibels generally keep people awake. A person talking measures about 50 decibels.
  • Shift work-  Most shift workers don’t get enough. When shift falls during late night to the wee hours of dawn, the employee is fighting the natural wake-sleep pattern.
  • Jet lag-  Inability to sleep caused when traveling across several time zones. This causes the body’s natural biological rhythms to get out of sync.
  • Sleep surface-  Sleeping space should be horizontal and not cramped. The mattress and pillows you use can make a big difference. The habits of sleeping partner also play a significant role (i.e., snoring).
  • Temperature/Climate-  This varies for person to person across the globe. But generally, temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celcius) and below 54 degrees F (12 degrees C) will awaken people.
  • Altitude-  Altitudes of 13,200 feet (4,000 meters) or more generally cause sleep disruption. This is because of the diminished oxygen levels at higher altitude levels.
  • Light-  The sleeping area should not be brightly lit for the body to adjust to its natural 24-hour period of wakefulness and sleepiness that is regulated by an internal body clock.
  • Sleep disorders-  Look out for signs and symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, etc. Sleeping disorders should be diagnosed and treated immediately.
  • Illness-  Most people complain several physical problems affecting their ability to fall or stay asleep. This includes pain, backache, soreness or other discomforts. Women often complain of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and hormonal shifts especially during pregnancy and menopause intruding in their sleep.
  • Medications-  Certain medications can cause sleeping difficulties such as decongestants, steroids, as well as some medications for asthma, depression and high blood pressure.

After you have identified them, you can now make the necessary changes in order for you to have a better night’s sleep.