The Sleep Foundation notes that the quality of your sleep is critical to your health. Interrupted sleep can impact your thinking, memory and decision-making. How can you remedy this?
During healthy sleep, a person goes through a series of sleep cycles, and awakenings can disrupt this process.
Research suggests fragmented sleep “may be a contributing factor” to the development of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
It’s also connected to “higher rates of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes”, according to The Sleep Foundation.
Sleep fragmentation can arise in older adults due to a natural change in their sleep pattern, resulting in less time in “deep sleep”.
Becoming a light sleeper, they are more easily awoken by sounds that may not have disturbed them previously.
Other health conditions, such as nocturia (frequent urination at night) and restless leg syndrome, may threaten sleep continuity.
Stress can also cause disrupted sleep, as can anxiety, which can make it harder to fall back asleep.
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Improve your sleep habits by “going to bed and waking up at the same time every day”.
Another step is to create a “steady” bedtime routine, which includes “plenty of time to unwind or relax”.
This will involve the avoidance of “alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, and big meals” in the hours leading up to bedtime.
It’s advised not to use electronic devices in bed – at all; furthermore, the reduction in their use before you get into bed is encouraged.
Another way to help regulate your wake-sleep cycle is to “get outside” or “open your blinds” to get daily exposure to sunlight.
It’s also helpful to prioritise physical activity everyday in order to help you sleep better at night.
To “facilitate sleep continuity”, your bedroom needs to be free from “sleep disturbances”.
This includes using “black-out curtains, a low-wattage bedside lamp, and if necessary, a sleep mask”.
All these contribute to a dark room to sleep in, as light can trick you into feeling awake.
To counteract the possibility of waking up from noises, wear ear plugs or invest in a white noise machine.
The bedroom temperature also needs to be on the cooler side, and make sure to have a comfy mattress, pillows and sheets.
If you suffer from nocturia, speak to your GP to discover and treat the underlying cause.