January 2, 2017

9 Science-Backed Reasons You Are Having Trouble Sleeping

A few hours of restful sleep each night gives you a great sense of satisfaction. And what’s behind that sense of satisfaction? Sleep stimulates the mind. Sleep renews the body. You just feel better. For some people, a night of restful sleep is very rare. They toss. They turn. They wake up bleary-eyed the next morning, desperate for caffeine. Is this you? Take a look at these 9 science-backed reasons that lead to a restless night.

You are half way to a solution when you know why something is happening. Interrupted sleep is a problem you don’t want to have. Inadequate sleep can lead to exhaustion. Extended periods of poor sleep can lead to death over time!!! In this article, we explore 9 reasons you are restless in bed at night.

The Benefits of Sleep

A good night’s sleep leads to:

  • Good energy levels
  • Increased attention span
  • A sense of better well-being
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Improvement in creativity
  • Increased memory

Sleep plays a major role in health and weight management.

What We Don’t and Do Know About Sleep

The exact mechanism of how sleep works, how it restores our body and mind is still unknown. 

What we do know is the why: sufficient sleep is a necessity for our well-being.   

Stages of sleep 

There are different physiological stages in a sleep cycle.

Each stage serves a different purpose.

The two major stages of sleep are: 

  1. REM sleep (dream sleep); and
  2. Non-REM sleep (calm sleep or deep sleep).

REM Sleep

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is the stage in which you dream more, and there is low muscle tone throughout the body.

Your pulse and heartbeat are faster.        

Non-REM Sleep                                    

Non-REM sleep is the stage in which dreams rarely occur and there is no eye movement.

Your body switches into a scene of calmness. 

The Science of Sleep

A typical sleep cycle alternates between these stages of sleep: REM and non-REM.

An understanding of the science of sleep exposes you to certain interesting facts. These 9 reasons will go a long way to explain why you may be having trouble sleeping

  1. Your ‘internal clock’ controls sleep

Circadian rhythm, which is your body’s internal biological clock, regulates sleep.

This clock along with the chemicals in your body control your desire to sleep.

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The desire is stronger at night.

This rhythm is set in the first few months after birth.

The circadian clock also controls the other biological patterns of the body. These include blood pressure and temperature.

  1. Exposure to light at the right time induces sleep

When human body gets abundant light at the right time, the circadian clock is on track.

The release of certain sleep-inducing chemicals is promoted by light.

Exposure to light at the wrong time can alter the sleep cycleThis can lead to wakefulness at undesired hours.

This is the reason why people with little exposure to light have erratic sleep patterns.

  1. Working long hours can lead to sleeplessness

Long working hours can play havoc with your sleep patterns. When you work for longer hours than your regular schedule, your body goes through various changes. Your body is forced to remain active and alert to complete the tasks.working-long-hours

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This pressure on your body can alter the circadian rhythm. This eventually leads to wakefulness in the middle of the night and difficulty falling asleep.

This is the reason why many of us lie awake for long hours after a hard day at work. Your body takes time to switch over from active mode. It needs that time.

  1. You’re not getting enough melatonin

Melatonin is the key hormone that induces sleep. Whilst you sleep in a darkened room at night, the brain is busy producing melatonin. Progressively,  this hormone is released into the blood. The presence of melatonin makes the body feel less alert.

Melatonin stays in the blood for close to twelve hours. As their level increases in blood, your body becomes totally inactive, and you are ready to sleep.

During the day, melatonin is not produced by the body. This is why some of us cannot fall asleep in broad daylight, even on days we are exhausted.

  1. Lack of deep sleep 

During the deep sleep stage, your body repairs itself. In this stage, blood flow toward the brain is less, and your body releases growth hormones. These hormones stimulate muscle growth and repair.

In this stage, your body also releases chemicals and substances that aid the immune system. As a result, your body gains resistance during deep sleep. When you sleep more, your body becomes more resistant.

Deep sleep also increases alertness. At this stage, your body’s optimal functioning is improved. 

Get your deep sleep stage, otherwise you could end up like this security guard sleep on the job!

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  1. Not enough dream sleep 

REM sleep or dream sleep occurs about three to five times every night. Sometimes it happens every 90 minutes during your sleep.

In this stage, all the irrelevant information is erased from your mind. REM sleep aids logical reasoning and improves memory. This is the stage in which learning is facilitated.

These are the reasons why a good night’s sleep is recommended before examinations. Students who sleep well before the exams fare better when compared to students who stay up all night.

  1. You have a sleep debt 

Poor quality and quantity of your sleep are related to various health problems like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Many studies have proven the apparent correlation.

Inadequate sleep leads to reduced amounts of growth hormone secretion. This can lead to obesity. Deficient sleep also diminishes the body’s ability to synthesize insulin. This can result in the onset of diabetes.

There is a fall in the blood pressure during deep sleep. Long periods of interrupted sleep affect this drop, leading to hypertension and eventually cardiovascular diseases.

Insufficient or interrupted sleep affects the brain’s recovery and restoration process. This can result in depression and anxiety.

  1. Your weight management isn’t optimal

Good sleep is the primary necessity for the healthy functioning of your body. Sleep also plays a vital role in weight management.

Adequate sleep results in an alert mind and boosts your performance during exercise. It also keeps you active and helps you stick to your goals.  Sleep promotes muscle repair and aids quick recovery.

Your body’s response to the exercise depends on the metabolism of your body. This metabolism is increased by quality sleep.

For optimum weight management, along with diet and exercise, your body needs sufficient sleep.

  1. Excessive daytime sleep is a sign of trouble

In daylight, the human body is designed to function to its maximum capacity. When an individual has a constant urge to fall asleep in the day, even after a good sleep in the night, it could be due to a sleep disorder.

Excessive sleep in the daytime can be a sign of risk. It can affect a person’s performance and can hinder mental abilities.

The Final Word

Studies from across the world reveal that sleep is vital to our well-being. The impact sleep has on our overall health is under-valued. You know the reason that you have trouble sleeping. The question is, will sleep become a priority for you?

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