There are various factors that affect the quality and length of your sleep. These include
Internal factors –physiological and biological factors
External factors- environment, diet, and medication
Let us take a look at the 10 factors which affect sleep
Light affects our sleep in two ways
- The bright rays of light making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Affects the perception of the body and mind. Our eyes are not able to signal to the brain that it is sleep time due to the light.
In extreme pain conditions, it is not only difficult to fall asleep but also to have a peaceful sleep. The pain makes you wake up many times in-between sleep.
Stress affects our sleep structure in a major way. Depression and anxiety result in more REM sleep than deep sleep. It’s our body’s natural mechanism to stay awake during stressful times. This is also a reason that you can’t sleep when you are stressed.
Antihistamine drugs and medications which contain alpha and beta-blockers affect our sleep in a big way. Taking antidepressants not only affects the quality of sleep but also hits hard on the sleep pattern resulting in irregular sleep structure.
Caffeine & Alcohol
Drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and carbonated beverages make you stay awake by blocking the sleep hormone adenosine in the brain. This is why we are often told to avoid coffee before bedtime.
While alcohol seems to induce sleep initially, high consumption of alcohol results in sleep disturbances and affects the quality of sleep.
Smoking is not only injurious to health but also kills your sleep. The Nicotine present in the cigarette is a stimulant. It increases the body’s alertness and makes you stay awake.
Heavy meals just before going to bed can affect your sleep. Also having spicy and oily food takes longer to digest which impacts the quality of sleep.
Fasting makes you stay mentally alert which is the complete opposite of sleep. Also, hunger pains during fasting make it difficult to fall asleep.
Television or any electronic gadget with a screen emitting blue light is not only harmful to your eyes but also affects your sleep. The rays prevent the brain from synthesizing the sleep hormone melatonin in the pineal gland.