Insufficient sleep is a common and serious problem that significantly impacts people’s lives. It affects those with medical conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or obstructive sleep apnea.
Those who lack sleep are also affected by occupational hazards injuries at home or work due to drowsiness, fatigue, and exhaustion.
The Causes of Insufficient Sleep
Many factors can lead you to have poor or insufficient sleep. The most common causes of inadequate sleep are as follows:
- Stress and Anxiety: Work, school, family problems, and even simple everyday stressors can affect your sleep.
- Pain: Pain in the body encourages the production of stress hormones and reduces the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall asleep.
- Alcohol and Caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can greatly affect your sleep. They work to keep you awake and prevent you from falling asleep quickly.
- Insufficient Exercise: Exercising does many things for your body, but one of the main benefits is helping you sleep. People who do not work out regularly tend to have a poorer sleep.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea can cause poor sleep.
Tests to Diagnose Insufficient Sleep
If you suspect that you have a problem falling asleep, it’s a good idea to get a medical examination. Some of the tests that your doctor will perform to diagnose your problem with insufficient sleep include:
- Polysomnogram: This tests brain activity and muscle movements and uses the information to determine whether you are in a deep sleep or not.
- Blood test: A blood test can determine whether any conditions prevent you from sleeping adequately.
- Sleep Diary: Keep a sleep diary to see how long you slept and how you feel during the day. It will also help you identify any factors, such as noise or light, that may be affecting your sleep.
- Actigraphy Watch: An actigraphy watch monitors how much you move. The information is then used to calculate how much sleep you are getting and how long it takes you to fall asleep.
- Overnight Sleep Study: This is a more comprehensive sleep study that can monitor brain activity, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, temperature, movement, and snoring and usually takes place in a sleep clinic.
Treatment for Insufficient Sleep
There are several steps that you can take to help prevent your lack of sleep or treat your insomnia:
- Come up with a sleep schedule and follow it. You should have the same bedtime and wake time every day and make sure that you get enough sleep every night.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine to get your mind and body ready for sleep.
- If you cannot fall asleep after twenty minutes, get out of bed and do a relaxation activity or a boring activity like reading a book or watching television until you feel sleepy.
- Exercise regularly, but not close to bedtime.
- Try to eliminate stress and anxiety.
If you still have issues with sleep, you should speak to your doctor about medical treatments. Your doctor may prescribe you medicine and recommend changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Get Some Good-Quality Sleep!
Insufficient sleep is a serious problem that affects more people than you think. Millions of people suffer from poor sleep, costing companies millions in lost productivity and various health effects. Taking simple steps to improve the quality of your sleep will make a significant difference to the quality of your life.
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