Do you often find yourself drifting in and out of sleep? Are you a light sleeper and wake up at the slightest disturbance? Do you often fall asleep quickly but then wake up two hours later? These symptoms may all be attributed to a potential sleeping disorder.
If you are trying to understand what’s wrong with your sleep, you first need to understand you sleep structure. “We sleep in cycles. During these cycles, we move through different phases of sleep. The cycles tend to go like this: wake > light sleep > deep sleep > light sleep > wake. Each cycle ends with a brief period of wakefulness and this is completely normal. In fact, no-one 'sleeps through the night', that's a myth. However, good sleepers tend not to notice these brief awakenings and often report that they 'slept through,'" explained Alison Gardiner, a behavioural psychologist.
Waking up twice at night is normal. But if you find yourself struggling to fall asleep again, it could be a sign of a greater issue. One of the reasons for this could be sleep maintenance insomnia. It is categorised as a person having “difficulty staying asleep, and in particular, waking too early and struggling to get back to sleep.”
This condition is more commonly found in women than men, especially those transitioning from a midlife crisis. This condition can arise from psychological stress, pain, depression or another sleep disorder called sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea “is a relatively common condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing,” described a Harvard study.
“People that don’t have sleep issues should be falling asleep within 20 minutes.” But, if you’re not getting the recommended amount of sleep per night but can fall asleep quickly, it could also be a sign that you’re sleep deprived. “If we don’t get enough hours of sleep to meet our sleep needs, we will fall asleep faster,” Brandon Peters, M.D., explained to Bustle.
There are several ways in which one can combat these sleeping disorders. Avoid caffeine consumption after 2pn and if finish the alcohol consumption for the day two hours before you go to bed. Caffeine stays in your system for six hours and alcohol affects your REM sleep, which results in tossing and turning and an overall disturbed sleep.
Turn off all screens around you and hour before you go to sleep. Dedicate that hour to relaxing and getting your body accustomed to a routine that signals to your body that it is time to sleep. If all this still doesn’t help, go somewhere quieter, keep the light dim and try practising breathing exercises....