We’re all aware that not getting enough sleep can make us feel tired and irritable, but did you know that failing to get sufficient shuteye on a regular basis can have a major impact on your long-term wellbeing? Sleep is essential for health. Without enough rest, your risk of a range of medical problems increases. For example, you’re more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease, and you’re at a higher risk of obesity. So, if you’re not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of slumber a night, now could be the time to take action.
Sleeplessness can be triggered by a range of problems, and it’s important to understand what lies behind your lack of shuteye and what you can do to address the problem.
If you often find it difficult to drift off, you wake up regularly during the night or you rise too early in the morning, you may have insomnia. This is a common issue that’s thought to regularly affect around a third of people in the UK. It’s especially prevalent among older people. Sometimes, bouts of insomnia are short-lived, but they can go on for months or even years.
The causes of this sleep problem are not always clear, but it is often associated with lifestyle factors such as drinking alcohol or caffeine before bedtime or working shifts. It can also be triggered by excessive anxiety or stress, a poor sleeping environment, mental or physical health issues or certain medications, such as steroids or some antidepressants.
There are steps you can take to control your insomnia, including going to bed and getting up at regular times, making sure you have a good sleeping environment, taking time to relax before bed and avoiding nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, exercise and heavy meals in the few hours leading up to lights out. It also helps to avoid looking at TV, computer or phone screens late in the evening. If making these changes doesn’t help, you may want to try over-the-counter or prescription sleeping tablets, but bear in mind these medicines don’t address the cause of the problem and they can have unwanted side effects.
Obstructive sleep apnoea
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs when the walls in the throat relax during sleep, causing them to narrow and interrupt normal breathing. There are two different types. Apnoea happens when the soft tissues and muscles in the throat collapse enough to cause a complete blockage of the airway for at least 10 seconds. Hypopnoea occurs when there is a partial blockage (of at least 50%). Both conditions can interrupt sleep and have a major impact on your quality of life. Signs of OSA include loud snoring or breathing and short periods of snorting or gasping that interrupts normal breathing. In some cases, it can also cause night sweats and result in people getting up to urinate frequently during the night.
Risk factors for OSA include being overweight, having a large neck, taking sedative medicines, smoking, drinking alcohol, nasal congestion or having a family history of the condition. People over the age of 40 are also more likely to have it, and it’s more common among men than women.
Treatments for the condition can include making lifestyle changes, for example reducing alcohol intake and losing weight, or wearing gum shield devices that hold your tongue and jaw in a forward position to increase the space in your throat. Sleeping on your side rather than your back can also help.
Night cramps can be painful and alarming, and they can prevent you from getting the rest you need. This condition occurs when the muscles go into spasm and it most commonly affects the lower part of the leg, although it can occur in other parts of the body. Experts believe a range of things can increase your risk of suffering this problem, including dehydration, bad circulation and the overexertion of muscles before bedtime. Certain medicines, including statins, salbutamol and phenothiazines, are also thought to be a risk factor.
As well as making sure you’re hydrated, stretching your muscles out before you go to bed could reduce the risk that you will experience cramps.
How our products can help
At Adjustamatic, we offer a range of adjustable beds that could enable you to tackle your sleep disorders. These beds can help you find the perfect sleeping position, making it easier to drift off at night. For example, elevating your head could help to reduce the pull of gravity on your neck and reduce your risk of OSA. In addition our NHC Cyclo-Therapy system can improve your circulation, reducing your risk of night cramps. It can also make you feel more relaxed and ease the aches and pains associated with a range of medical problems, helping you to fall asleep faster and enjoy more sound slumber.
For further information on our products, don’t hesitate to contact our specialists on 0808 301 7056.