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What Your Sleep Patterns Tell You About Your Health
Have you ever wished you were that person who falls asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow?
We totally get you!
But what if we told you that it doesn’t necessarily make someone a "good sleeper"?
The way we sleep says a lot about our potential health problems.
Some sleep patterns, such as falling asleep super-fast or getting too much sleep are often met with envy. Who wouldn’t want to fall asleep in an instant?
But not everything is as it seems, and we’re going to reveal why some sleeping styles aren’t always ideal.
In fact, some sleep patterns can often be signs that something is very wrong…
Would You Sleep Forever If You Didn’t Set an Alarm?
Okay, obviously we don’t mean "forever" literally. But without an alarm, would you be likely to sleep for up to 10 to 12 hours?
Contrary to what you might think, getting this much sleep on a regular basis is not always an indicator of good health or a good sleep pattern.
Sleeping for more than 10 hours a day is much more than the recommended average and could be a sign that your body is a little worn out. It could be from simply doing too much during your awake hours or it’s possible your body is fighting off an infection.
Are You Always Waking Up Tired?
No matter how hard you try to get the right amount of sleep, you’re just always so tired.
Does this sound like you?
There are a couple of reasons why you might be feeling this way.
At least 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea (1), and that’s just the cases that have been diagnosed.
Sleep apnea is a condition that interferes with breathing and causes you to wake up multiple times during the night, even if you don’t remember doing it. Snoring is another major symptom.
If you don’t have sleep apnea, it’s also worth considering other types of sinus problems or even depression as a potential cause of your tiredness.
Do You Wake Up and Find It Hard to Fall Back to Sleep?
Have you ever woken up kicking your partner in the middle of the night?
Do you regularly wake up and find it hard to fall back to sleep without stretching or moving around?
This sleep pattern indicates one main culprit.
Restless Leg Syndrome affects 10 percent of adults in the USA (2) and is caused by irregular dopamine levels, which control nerve cells. Though it can be a major disturbance, once diagnosed, Restless Leg Syndrome is pretty easy to treat and keep in check.
Do You Sleepwalk?
So many people find sleepwalking funny, but to those who suffer from it, it’s no joke.
If you appear to be doing things in the middle of the night that you have no memory of, such as snacking, moving things around, or going for a walk, you might have a case of sleepwalking on your hands.
While it can sound humorous at first, sleepwalking can be a real pain for those who suffer from it. Imagine waking up to see that you’d eaten all the snacks in your fridge!
Are You Always Waking Up to Pee?
We all occasionally make that terrible decision to drink a huge cup of tea right before going to bed. What results is usually a couple of bathroom breaks in the middle of the night.
This is a pretty normal reaction to a lot of liquid before bedtime, but if you’re peeing a lot for no apparent reason, it could be something a bit more serious.
Frequent urination is one of the main symptoms of diabetes. Due to high blood sugar, your kidneys are working extra hard to filter out all of the bad stuff.
So, while it could just be that big cup of tea, it’s best to get it checked out anyway.
Do You Find It Difficult to Fall Asleep?
Are you one of those people who spends hours trying to fall asleep?
It’s very possible that you’re simply not tired enough for sleep yet. If you tend to wake up late and don’t do much physical activity during the day, it makes perfect sense that your body is resistant to sleep at a normal time.
This could also be a sign of too much screen time before bedtime. Blue light from electronics such smartphones, television, and computers can keep you overstimulated and make you unable to fall asleep easily.
We’ve got some great tips for getting over this coming right up.
Do You Toss and Turn All Through the Night?
Unlike the people who could sleep non-stop for 12 hours, anyone who tosses and turns throughout the night is experiencing the opposite problem.
Insomnia or a racing heart can be indicators of an overactive thyroid.
But it’s not necessarily a serious medical issue. If you’ve had a big month at work or have an important event coming up, you may just be experiencing some anxiety about it.
Finally... Do You Fall Asleep as Soon as Your Head Hits the Pillow?
Remember the "good sleeper" we mentioned earlier?
How many of us wish we could be the one who falls asleep within five minutes of getting into bed?
Well, don’t be too jealous. As it turns out, falling asleep too fast is not always a healthy sleep pattern.
It should take around 20 minutes to fall asleep. Anything less than that indicates possible sleep deprivation. Another symptom of sleep deprivation is the constant desire to nap throughout the day.
So, How to Sleep Better?
You’ve probably been reading through these sleep patterns and nodding your head in agreement as you recognize your own symptoms.
Well, we’re here to tell you everything is going to be okay once you get to the bottom of what’s causing your problems.
Obviously, some sleep patterns should be examined by your doctor, but in the meantime, check out these tips on how to fall asleep naturally – they’re sure to help you get more rest!
- Make your bedroom your oasis. Keep it dark and cool and use it only for sleep.
- Try not to drink too much before bed, especially caffeinated drinks.
- Limit screen time an hour before you plan to sleep. Turn off the television, put your phone away, and open a book or listen to some music instead.
- Avoid filling up too much on dinner. Try to eat at least 2 to 3 hours before you plan to go to sleep.
- Exercise regularly or take up yoga or meditation.
- If you can’t get your room completely dark, consider using a fully customizable sleep mask with blackout effect.
- Use lavender! It is known to relax nerves. Keep some in a vase in your bedroom or dab some lavender essential oil on your pillowcase.
It’s Time to Put Your Sleep First!
If there’s anything we’ve learned from examining sleep patterns, it’s that you shouldn’t brush off troublesome sleep as something that’s "normal" or "just one of those things."
Make sure you see your physician about anything that’s keeping you up at night. And of course, follow our tips for getting better sleep!
Do you have a tip for how to fall asleep fast?
(1) "Sleep Apnea Information for Clinicians." American Sleep Apnea Association, www.sleepapnea.org/learn/sleep-apnea-information-clinicians/. Accessed 16 August 2018.
(2) "Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Sleep." National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/restless-legs-syndrome. Accessed 16 August 2018.