Improve your sleep quality by leaving these 5 habits

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Did you know that even some little habits that seem harmless can disrupt your sleep. Take note of them, ditch them and have a sound sleep!

For today’s generation, sleep is a luxury. We burn the midnight oil almost every night, typing away furiously on our laptops, as we send out those emails. Or else, binging on shows online just takes up all our time. Although we know these aren’t the best habits (*cough cough*), we do it repeatedly, night after night. There are several other reasons that can contribute to sleeplessness. No, we aren’t kidding!

We got in touch with Dr G Velkumar, Senior Consultant – Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre, Madurai, who told us more about this.

“Sleep is a condition of the body and mind that typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is relatively inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. Poor sleep quality could be caused by a variety of factors, which is why it is important to rectify them,” he adds.

Here are some of the reasons for your poor quality of sleep:

1. Smoking a cigarette

Poor habits such as erratic schedule or excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, might affect the quality of your sleep. The nicotine in a cigarette will prevent you from sleeping, and the withdrawal cravings may keep you awake at night.

2. Mobile phone usage

Using the phone after the lights have been turned out leads to poor sleep quality, daytime tiredness, sleep disruptions, and increased sleep latency. It is also advised to keep any devices aside, at least 30 minutes before you hit the sack.

Prolonged screen time before you hit the bed is a no-no! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Stress and anxiety

Sleep deprivation is exacerbated by poor mental health, whether as a result of increased stress or despair or worry. As per research, the relationship between sleep problems and anxiety is bidirectional. What this essentially means is that sleep issues can lead to anxiety, and on the other hand, anxiety can cause sleeplessness. All in all, if you don’t rest well at night, it can impact how you function emotionally, mentally and even physically.

4. Chronic health conditions

Poor sleep patterns and general sleep deprivation are linked to some chronic health issues. Chronic lung diseases, asthma, acid reflux, renal disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain are only a few of them.

5. Sleep apnea

This is a disorder that, if left untreated, can lead to major health issues such as high blood pressure and heart difficulties. It causes breathing to stop regularly throughout sleep, resulting in loud snoring and daytime exhaustion.

Avoid stress and rest well! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Anything else to improve your sleep?

There could also be some undiagnosed sleep disorders that could worsen the issue. Some of these can go untreated, until a person seeks medical attention for other symptoms such as poor sleep quality.

“Insomnia is a disorder in which you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep all night. Narcolepsy is a disorder that causes severe tiredness during the day and causes people to fall asleep unexpectedly,” concludes Dr Velkumar.

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