We spoke about Sleep and how much is enough in our post last week and examined why we need sleep, how much the average requirement of sleep is and the factors that determine the quality of our sleep. Studies and statistics are all very well, but how do we determine how much sleep is enough for each of us?
There are certain indications of a person not getting enough sleep – if for instance you awaken in the morning feeling un-refreshed and un-rested then you either did not have enough sleep or enough good quality sleep.
If you find it difficult to concentrate during the day, or feel fatigued, and find that your reasoning and performance at work or school appears compromised or below par, this could be due to a sleep deficit as well.
It could be that the sleep deficit manifests in other different ways – there could be unexplained weight gain and being prone to accidents.
In fact lack of proper sleep is one of the major causes of auto accidents.
One way to determine how much sleep you need in a 24 hour period is to try and awaken without the help of an alarm clock for several days in a row. This will help to redress any sleep deficit you have and will also help you understand the sleep requirements of your own body.
If you find that you are sleeping enough hours but are still not feeling properly rested, examine certain issues that could be causing you to have poor quality sleep even if you are getting the requisite number of hours.
- People who work nights (shifts) or who travel a lot between time zones (jet lag or jet daze) may find that their disturbed sleep patterns impact energy levels and performance.
- Cigarettes, caffeine and alcohol consumption also interrupt sleep. Remember caffeine is not just coffee but also many other beverages and its effects can be felt up to seven and half hours after consumption.
- Sleep apnea can also interrupt sleep because it can cause the person to awaken, snore, gasp, pause in their breathing and so on.
- Kicking and jerking of limbs during the night or conditions such as the Restless Legs Syndrome may cause one to awaken at night and suffer disturbed sleep.
- Night sweats, a common feature for menopausal women, can also interrupt sleep and cause fatigue the next day.
- Medical conditions, chronic pain and certain medications can also be the underlying cause for poor sleep.
- Partner disturbances are another factor one should examine to determine the cause of lack of good quality sleep.