When your sleep is interrupted frequently, you may wake tired or groggy and unable to face the day. If interruptions happen every night, you can become increasingly anxious and irritated. Your risk of serious health conditions increases, and the symptoms of other conditions worsen. Many factors can contribute to reduced sleep, including age, lifestyle, and a range of medical conditions.
Habits May Prevent Sleeping Well
Lifestyle factors are among the most common causes of sleep disruptions, according to the June 2019 issue of Harvard Health Letter. Caffeine in tea, coffee, and soft drinks blocks brain chemicals that allow for sleep if consumed later than early afternoon. Drinking alcohol less than four hours before going to bed can also negatively impact sleep. Other lifestyle factors that may keep you awake include eating close to bedtime or napping in the late afternoon or evening.
Age Alters Natural Timing
The sleep-wake cycle changes significantly as we age, according to experts. For many seniors, the body’s circadian rhythm presses for an earlier start to the night. That means waking up earlier too. It’s important to note that a pattern of waking frequently during the night probably isn’t related to natural changes from aging and could have many other causes, including pain or a medical condition.
Health Problems Severely Impact Sleep
A range of chronic health issues prevent sound sleeping, including depression, anxiety, neuropathy, and sleep apnea. People with these medical conditions may be reluctant to seek treatment, but there are medications and devices that can help. In the case of sleep apnea, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may be the answer. If cost is a concern, medicines and CPAP supplies are usually covered by insurance or Medicare.
Medication Could Be the Culprit
Prescription and over-the-counter medicines taken for medical conditions not related to sleeping could cause disruptions overnight. Nighttime waking is a known side effect of some antidepressants, alcohol-containing cold remedies, beta-blockers, and steroids. Of course, you must discuss this issue with your doctor. Stopping a prescription medicine without talking to a medical professional can be dangerous.
Making lifestyle changes, treating health problems, and understanding natural rhythms and medication side effects can help you cope with disrupted sleep. Once you track down the cause of your sleep issues and treat them, every waking hour may seem better. It’s remarkable what a good’s night sleep can do for you.