Things That Can Affect Sleep Pattern


We all love to enjoy a good sleep after a long day. Getting enough sleep makes us energetic and most importantly it is a vital component to lead a healthy and balanced life. It is important for overall well being. Lack of sleep affects the performance of an individual and it can be explained in three steps.

1. Feeling sleepiness is the first sign of the lack of sleep.

2. There is an inevitable intrusion of sleep into our ability to stay awake.

3. When an individual forcefully remains awake, there is a decrease in performance and also causes cognitive impairment.

Cognitive impairment is the most common effect of the lack of sleep. When an individual is at sleep, the brain forms a pathway that is necessary for learning and creating memories. Without sufficient sleep, it is difficult for an individual to pay attention and respond to things quickly. A different number of tasks are carried out during sleep which allows people to stay healthy and function at their best. Also, according to the researchers, lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

There are many factors that affect sleep pattern of an individual. In some cases unhealthy lifestyle factors affect sleep and sometimes, health problems result in sleeping disorders.

Some of the external factors that influence sleep are as follows:

1. Consumption of excessive alcohol

Many people feel that consumption of alcohol makes an individual falls asleep at night, but the truth is that although alcohol makes will make you feel sleepy, it actually disrupts the sleep later. According to the researchers, it has been observed that sleep related problems are more common in alcoholics as compared to non-alcoholics. Basically, sleep is categorized into two states, rapid eye movement, and non-rapid eye movement. Rapid eye movement is characterized by frequent movements of the eye and it is associated with dreaming. On the other hand, non-rapid eye movement is characterized by eyes that do not move. Also, rapid eye movement sleep latency refers to the time between sleep onset and the onset of the first episode of rapid eye movement.

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According to the research that was conducted to investigate about the role of alcohol in sleep problems, it was observed that in alcoholic patients there was an increase in the rapid eye movement sleep latency and a decrease in the total sleep.

2. Intake of excessive caffeine

Caffeine is another thing that is known to have an impact on the sleep of an individual. Caffeine is believed to be an adenosine receptor antagonist that can modulate physiological and mental states. Adenosine receptors affect several mechanisms located in the areas of the brain that involved in the regulation of sleep, arousal, and cognitive function. There is no surprise that many times, people look for ways to compensate for the shortage of sleep and to stay awake. In that case, caffeine related beverages such as coffee are helpful. Caffeine can inhibit sleep. But consumption of caffeine in a large amount can lead to the development of sleep disorders.

Also, intake of excessive caffeine can disrupt the circadian rhythmicity that can cause disruption in sleeping pattern and influence cognitive functioning. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder that can develop due to excessive intake of caffeine.

3. Cigarette smoking

There is no doubt in saying that cigarette smoking is one of the leading cause of disability and premature deaths. It leads to the development of the respiratory, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. In addition to this, cigarette smoking also adversely affect the sleep of an individual. Cigarette smoking consists of more than a hundred chemicals and many of them are poisonous and harmful for the body such as nicotine. These chemicals affect the system that regulates sleep and leads to the development of sleep disorders.

Some of the diseases that can cause sleep disturbance are as follows:

1. Asthma

Asthma is one of the diseases that is strongly associated with the development of sleep disorders. People having asthma often experience nighttime arousals that interrupt the sleep and make an individual feel tired all day. Many times patients having asthma wakes up at night due to symptoms of asthma such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and breathlessness.

Asthma is one of the chronic diseases that affect millions of children. It is an inflammatory lung disease which is characterized by repeated episodes of a cough, wheezing and difficulty in breathing. Asthma occurs when the airways lining in the lungs become inflamed and swollen. It is accompanied by the excessive production of mucus which leads to reduces the air flow.

2. Depression

Multiple studies have stated that there is a complex relationship between depression and sleep disorders. It has been observed that people under depression often complain of sleep disorders. Also, depression is not only associated with any one type of sleep disorder but it is associated with various sleep disorders.

Depression is a condition in which an individual feels more than just being sad and it is defined as a serious mental health condition that requires immediate medical care. Depression is characterized by the feeling of low to such an extent that it starts interfering in doing daily activities. In other terms, depression has a significant impact on a person’s ability to function normally. Although depression is associated with various types of sleep disorders, insomnia is the most common sleep disorder which is diagnosed in most of the patients suffering from depression. Patients find difficulty in initiating and attaining sleep.

3. Thyroid disorders

Thyroid disorders can lead to the occurrence of sleep disorders, especially hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland is one of the most important glands in the human body that is responsible for the production of hormones that play a vital role in metabolism. Although thyroid hormones are essential, even a slight variation in the level of these hormones that create problems for an individual. When thyroid gland produces excessive thyroid hormones, it is known as hyperthyroidism. And when thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient thyroid hormones, it is known as hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism can cause several sleep disorders but sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder caused by hypothyroidism. Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by the periods of shallow breathing and pauses in breathing during the sleep. Sleep apnea is categorized into three types, central, obstructive and mixes. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea.



Tags: Sleep deprivation, How to sleep better, 10 Factors that affect a persons sleep

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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.