Understanding Sleep Disruptions

Sleepless woman suffering from insomnia, sleep apnea or stress

One common misconception of quality sleep is about the number of hours of sleep we get daily. Although it is true that the amount of sleep time is vital, the need for undisrupted sleep is equally significant. It is proven that the best quality of sleep is when we spend more time in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, where dreams and no disruption to sleep occurs. Sleeping in starts and stops does not make your sleep as refreshing as you would expect as they impact sleep continuity and sleep quality that could lead to problems such as tiredness during daytime and insomnia.

Causes of Sleep Disruption

Sleep disruption can be resulted by a variety of reasons:

  • Stress and anxiety – contemplating and worrying about problems in life, whether personal, career or academic, can cause disrupted asleep. For sufferers, they may have difficulty going back to sleep after waking up. New parents with infants or toddlers or caregivers for the disabled or sick may also experience this.
  • Lifestyle choices – irregular sleep time, excess consumption of caffeine or alcohol, using electronic devices in bed or excessive amount of light or noise in the bedroom (even the snoring or teeth grinding of a partner) can cause interrupted sleep.
  • Age – older adults tend to suffer from sleep fragmentation due to natural changes in sleep patterns where they spend less time in deep sleep. They are easily woken up.
  • Sleep disorders – including obstructive sleep apnea or other coexisting medical conditions.

What Should be Done?

There are some measures that can be taken to try preventing sleep disruption on your own, although not all causes of interrupted sleep can be resolved on your own:

  • Improving your sleep hygiene – create good sleep habits and routines such as not using electronic devices before you sleep and closing your doors or windows if the environment outside is too noisy and impacts your sleep.
  • Sticking to a routine – including going to sleep and getting up at the same time daily even on weekends, drinking a warm drink every night before going to bed or even finding time to exercise.
  • Improve your sleep environment – use white noise to block out noises if your bedroom is noisy or making sure your mattress and covers are inviting and comfortable.
  • Discuss with your partner if they have sleep issues like snowing or grinding of teeth.

The quantity and quality of sleep are extremely important. You should consult with a doctor if you are experiencing sleep disruption for a period of time or if your condition is worsening despite trying the different methods to improve your situation.