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What Is Interrupted Sleep?
Interrupted sleep refers to waking up for prolonged periods at night at least four times. For adults and elders, it is recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
The body goes through 4 stages of sleep that are non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that comprises stages 1 to 3 and REM sleep, that is linked with dreaming. When any stage of sleep is interrupted, the body would reset and start going through the stages all over again, preventing them from getting deep and restorative sleep.
Interrupted sleep not only causes sleepiness throughout the day but may also affect the immune system, cardiovascular health, and thought process.
If having interrupted sleep, it is important to know the reason and how to fix interrupted sleep.
What Causes Interrupted Sleep?
Causes for interrupted sleep include;
1. Age Factor
More interrupted sleep is observed in older adults
2. Lifestyle Factors
Lifestyle factors are one of the common causes. These include;
- Intake of alcohol within 4 hours of going to bed – Alcohol may make one fall asleep but can interrupt the sleep later during the night. And increases the urinary frequency as well that causes interrupted sleep.
- Eating within a few hours of going to bed – Lying down when the stomach is full causes heartburn making it harder to fall and stay asleep.
- Frequent and long napping – Longer naps during the day and later can make it hard to stay asleep at night.
- Consuming too much caffeine – Caffeine blocks a chemical in the brain called adenosine that helps to fall asleep. Caffeine-containing drinks and foods must be reduced beyond the early afternoon.
Few medications that cause interrupted sleep include;
- Some antidepressants
- Beta-blockers for high blood pressure
- Cold remedies that contain alcohol
- Corticosteroids for treating inflammation or asthma
4. Underlying Conditions
- Anxiety and depression
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathy - Numbness, pain, and tingling sensation in the hands and feet
- Sleep apnea - a sleeping disorder where breathing is interrupted during sleep
Side Effects Of Interrupted Sleep
Side effects of interrupted sleep include;
- Daytime sleepiness
- Reduces creativity
- Increases stress
- Decreases accuracy
- Body aches
- Memory lapses or loss
- Mood swings
It also leads to increased variability in heart rate and increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. A lack of sleep can lead to an impaired immune system, where the body makes fewer cytokines, proteins that help prevent inflammation and infection.
Interrupted Sleep Remedies
Listed below are a few sleep remedies;
- If lifestyle is interrupting the sleep, one must consider changing lifestyle or should consult a doctor to treat or detect an underlying condition.
- Practice good sleep routine and hygiene;
- Consider maintaining regular sleep patterns like waking up early as this makes you sleep early. Where it helps to keep your body in tune with its sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm.
- Avoid using electronic gadgets at least two hours before going to bed as they emit light and stimulate the brain.
- Consider sleeping in a dark, quiet, and cool space.
- Keep an eye on your sleep and wakefulness
- Consider reading or meditating, which are relaxing activities
- Exercise regularly, but avoid within one hour of bedtime
- Avoiding alcohol
Other tips include;
1. Warm Milk
Warm milk is associated with chemicals that stimulate the effects of tryptophan (an amino acid that promotes sleep) on the brain.
2. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is helpful as it contains flavonoids that interact with receptors in the brain that are found to be associated with the sleep-wake transition. Also, chamomile tea does not contain caffeine, which is beneficial.
3. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice promotes melatonin production that supports a healthy sleep cycle.
4. Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is a hormone that gets released a few hours before feeling a sense of sleepiness, is triggered by the body’s response to reduced exposure to light that happens at night. But the exposure to continuous light from the television, laptop, or mobile prevents the release of melatonin. Melatonin supplements are available that can be used.
5. Keeping Cool
Women experiencing hot flashes and going through menopause must consider keeping the room cool and wearing breathable fabric before going to bed to improve sleep.
6. Going Dark
It is important to prevent light even from a smartphone as it interferes with sleep.
Upon learning how to fix interrupted sleep, one can have a better sleep that improves day-to-day activities, energy levels, concentration, and quality of life.