Helping With Better Sleep – Part Two

Sleep, what can go wrong?

In our last blog, we looked at the two segments of sleep (NREM and REM). In this publication we will look at the things that influence them and could lead to insomnia and poor sleep quality.

Our sleep patterns, and disturbances to them, are caused by increased amounts of stimulation that alter our body-states when are asleep or when we try to sleep. This ‘stimulation’ can be broken down by source into three categories, environmental stimulation, mental stimulation and biological stimulation. So, if you’re having trouble sleeping it’s worth investigating these factors and seeing if any of them sound familiar.

Environmental factors can include

Bedroom temperature changes (too hot or cold).
Increased or decreased ambient noise (traffic, flatmates, public houses).
Increased amounts of light (including moonlight).
The behavior of sleep partners and other home users.
Changes in time zone (jet lag).
Increased number electrical devices and any AC DC current in yours or surrounding rooms.

Mental factors can include

Stress.
Anxiety.
Depression.
Grief.
Excitement/anticipation.

Biological factors can include

Medications.
Hormonal factors (including menopause and menstruation).
Allergies and reactions.
Sleep apnea.
Illness.
Alcohol and other drugs.

Those who have difficulty with sleep usually have one of two problems, those who struggle to get to sleep, and those who wake and cannot get back to sleep.

Those who cannot get to sleep generally suffer from environmental factors that do not permit the body to enter sleep.

Those who wake and cannot get back to sleep wake usually wake during REM sleep. This-as we discussed in our last blog-is due to mental factors leading to overactivity in the cerebral cortex during REM sleep.

Biological factors should not be disregarded (as some may occur in tandem with both mental and environmental factors, but in general they are transient and may have a limited influence on sleep).

So if you are an insoniac, read through the list above and write down the factors that you believe influence your sleep patterns. Once you know what they are, you can take steps to limit there influence.

In our final chapter, we will discuss strategies to overcome these negative influences and look at some research based theories to help you sleep better.

If you wish to know more about sleep, or if you are having trouble with chronic sleep deprivation contact Mold physiotherapy today for a consultation and find out what we can do to help you with insomnia

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