Poor sleep causes

Causes of poor sleep

It’s important that we’re aware of the factors that affect our sleep, and understand how we can mitigate their impact in order to improve our sleep.

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What affects our sleep?

There are several factors that affect our sleep, including: Sleep environment, lifestyle,  stress and anxiety, medical conditions, medications, and age.

What we do while we’re awake has a big impact on the quality of our sleep. So much of what we consume has a a knock-on affect on our sleep

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Caffeine

Paper coffee cup

What is it?

Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in tea and coffee, but also in chocolate, cocoa, energy drinks, and a variety of soft drinks (some have more caffeine than strong coffee).

Caffeine can promote the supply of adrenaline and cause us to feel very awake and alert.

How does it affect sleep?

Everyone is different, but caffeine can suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps to regulate our body clock, for up to 10 hours.

It also reduces the proportion of slow-wave sleep, which can affect total sleep time, causing sleep deprivation.

Many people grab a coffee or an energy drink to get through that afternoon cortisol dip without realising it may have a knock on effect on their ability to get to sleep come 10/11pm.

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Alcohol

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What is it?

Alcohol is a depressant that effects on the human body in a range of ways, including relaxation, sedation, impaired coordination, and reduced inhibitions.

Alcohol is present in beer, wine, and spirits and over-consumption of alcohol can lead to a range of issues, including liver damage, heart disease, and addiction.

Alcohol is often part of social interactions, but most of us don’t realise the effect it has on sleep.

How does it affect sleep?

Many people claim that a drink before bed helps them sleep. However, while alcohol may initially cause a feeling of drowsiness, it disrupts our ability to stay asleep and creates more shallow bursts of sleep. It also acts as a diuretic which can often cause us to wake up more often during the night to use the bathroom

Some alcoholic drinks have a high sugar content, which can affect insulin production and blood sugar levels, giving us a quick burst of energy, causing us to feel alert and wide awake.

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Nicotine

A lit cigarette

What is it?

Nicotine is a stimulant. It reduces our ability to fall asleep and can cause disruption to our normal sleep patterns.

How does it affect sleep?

There are many people who believe that smoking can help them relax and cope with difficult, stressful or anxious times.

The disruption nicotine causes to our sleep may, however, increase our stress and anxiety levels.

Giving up is always good, but our bodies require time to get over their dependency on nicotine and the effects on our sleep may continue for a while

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