External factors affecting your sleep

External factors affecting your sleep
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Specialist recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for a productive day. there are several factors that could affect your sleep and limit your functionality on a day to day basis.

Having a god night sleep is important as it maintains a healthy mind and body. There are multiple external factors that could interfere with the quantity and quality of sleep you get every night.

Below are the main external factors that affect your sleep

The sleeping environment 

Your sleeping environment can have a major influence on the quantity and quality of sleep you get. there are multiple things that work together to make up the sleeping environment and that included noise, temperature, and light.

Light

Light has both a negative and positive effect on your sleep. It is an important sleep influence and can determine your sleep patterns.  It does both directly and indirectly by making it hard for you to fall asleep and also by influencing our preferred time of sleep.

It influences out internal clock through light sensitive cells that are located in the retina.  The cells tell the brain whether its night or day and the sleep patterns are set based on that. When the dun sets, the cells will detect drop in light intensity making the brain release melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for inducing fatigue and relaxation which signals the body that its sleep time.

Due to having lamps, bulbs and electronics in the bedroom, you may be exposed to too much light. Some electronics like the TV, laptop, and cell phone have blue light which keeps the body from producing melatonin and this keeps you from falling asleep. The light tricks the cells into believing its day and keeps the body from producing natural melatonin for sleep.

To counter the negative effects of light, make sure there is no light in your room during sleep time. Shut down all electronics and get blackout curtains to block any lights from moving vehicles or the neighbours. If you must keep some of the devices on, make sure they have on a blue light filter or get eye masks to keep the light away when you want to fall asleep fast.

Sound

It’s obvious that sound has a major effect on sleep. While some noises can keep you up at night, others will lure you into deep sleep fast. Certain sounds have the ability to improve the quality of your sleep.

White noise is a combination of noise frequencies that creates a hum with the ability to drown out noises that would otherwise keep you up at night. White noise is a great remedy for people with insomnia.

NB; listening to white noise on your headphones could lead to hearing issues. Instead, you should play it on a white noise machine

Pink noise is sounds that have a consistence frequency and have been found to increase the quality of sleep. They regulate and slow brain waves, keeping you relaxed and making you feel well rested. Pink noise includes waves, ocean sounds, rain and more. You can play this on a sound machine for a soothing effect and better sleep.

Music is also another form of sound that has ability to increase the quality of your sleep. Listening to slow jams or tunes can help you feel relaxed and make you fall asleep faster.  While these sounds are beneficial for a good sound sleep, some people love silence. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood, you can opt for noise cancelling headphones and sound deadeners for you walls for better sleep.

Medical conditions and Medication

factors affecting your sleep
Source: Internet Vibes

There are a wide range of physiological and medical conditions that have a negative impact on the quality and quantity of the sleep you get. Medical conditions like arthritis, obesity, blood pressure and more can cause pain, disruption and discomfort and this will affect your sleep quality. People of all ages can experience anxiety, stress and depression which make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Stress can make relaxation and sleep very difficult to achieve. The best way to counter these conditions is to get help from a qualified doctor.

There are chemicals in certain drugs that affect the quality and quantity of sleep. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, antihistamines and other substances found in prescription medication will keep you up at night. The medicine keeps you awake for long hours and this can lead to stress, anxiety, fatigue and other issues.

Your beddings

The surface you rest and sleep on has a great impact on the quality and quantity of sleep you get. how old is your mattress? While mattresses are made to last up to 10 years or more, some have and early breaking point. Mattresses with bumps, holes, and depressions will make you uncomfortable and affect the quality of your sleep directly.

In most cases, the differences between cheap and more expensive mattresses can be great. Cheaper mattresses tend to be too stiff, fall apart fast and dent/form a depression in the areas where you sleep. This makes the uncomfortable, makes you stiff and sometimes tosses around taking away from your sleep.

Old mattresses will not give your muscles and spine the support you need. This leads to a limited blood supply in other parts of your body, making your fatigued and sleepy throughout the day. Changing up your beddings could have a major effect on your sleeping patterns as well as the quality of sleep you get. Check out Restonic for a list of good quality and affordable mattresses.

Work and jetlag

When you stay in one place for a long time then travel to another, you will experience jetlag. Changes in the light exposure will make it difficult for you to fall asleep. You can change this by adjusting your sleeping habits several days before you travel to cope with the effects of jetlag.

Your work timing can also influence your sleeping habits. People who work in shifts are the most affected; working different shifts can be confusing to your biological clock and may have long term effect on your brain and body. Shift workers are at risk of experiencing serious mental and health issues like depression, stress and poor cognitive abilities.

Final word

Understanding the factors that affect sleep will help you engage in activities that better the quality and quantity of sleep. External factors may affect your sleep positively or negatively and it is up to you to control them for better health overall.

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