Sleep problems: 22 key questions about what you have to do to sleep better

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Insomnia is a problem that affects millions of people and many do not know how to solve it, here are the answers to all questions 

Sleeping poorly, getting up and feeling tired, not being able to fall asleep, suffering from bruxism, or having a partner who snores. The problems that surround the night rest time are many and unknown to many. 

Some of them have always generated doubts and their resolution seems never to be found, but studies and professionals have been encouraged to expand the field of research regarding sleep and today there are already answers to many of these discomforts. 

To put into perspective how important it is to sleep well, preliminary data from a survey conducted by the Argentine Association of Sleep Medicine in recent years revealed that 51% of the Argentine population considers they have slept poorly in 2020 and that in 2021 this got worse; 59% of the people surveyed stated that they had problems getting a good night’s rest. 

1- What can you do in the morning to sleep better at night?

Anne Marie Boyhan, an expert on sleep issues at The Sleep Care Co, explained to the British media Mirror the importance of sunlight in the morning for sleep regulation. “Make sure you get natural light during the day. If sunlight reaches your eyes in the morning, especially before 10 o’clock, you start up your biological clock and activate the rhythm of the hormones cortisol and melatonin, which work on sleep,” said the specialist. 

2- You slept for a few hours but the body is still tired, why is this?

For Paola Caro, medical director of Vittal (MN 113.445), a person has to sleep the necessary number of hours according to age: For example, those over 14 years of age recommend between 8 and 10 hours, after 18, between 7 and 8 hours. 

The specialist also clarifies that not only the number of hours is important, but also the quality of sleep: if it is frequently interrupted, the recommended hours are increased because you do not rest well. That is why it is good to practice relaxation habits before bed such as meditation exercises, reading, or listening to relaxing music. 

3- What actions improve the depth of sleep?

According to a Mirror survey of 2,000 Britons, 54 percent of people need to be in a completely dark environment before they can sleep, while 27 percent say they need to make sure everything around them is okay. closed, this includes having the doors locked before going to bed. 

Another survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that bedroom temperature was a very important factor in getting a good night’s sleep. According to professionals, the ideal temperature to have in the environment is 18.3 degrees Celsius. 

A published study titled Light exposure during sleep impairs cardiometabolic function noted that sleeping with lights on leads to insulin resistance the next morning, which occurs when muscle, liver, and fat cells are unable to respond properly to insulin and therefore, cannot access blood glucose to produce energy. 

4- What habits should be avoided before going to sleep?

Specialists from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute maintain that for better rest you must avoid: 

Go to bed and get up at different times. You have to try to regulate the schedules, even on weekends

Eat heavy before bed

Drinking alcohol before bed as can lead to interrupted rest

Go to bed without sleep. If 20 minutes go by and you’re still awake, get out of bed.

Exercising vigorously at night

Sleeping hot. A comfortable temperature in the room must be guaranteed

Go to sleep with unfinished business. It is advisable to have a notebook next to the bed and write down the concerns or tasks to be resolved to return to them the next day.

Perform basic breathing exercises (inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth). It is proven that this procedure puts the concentration on the air traffic and diverts negative thoughts and worries. 

5- How does poor sleep affect the immune system?

Mayo Clinic specialists emphasize that a few hours of rest affect the functioning of the immune system. In addition, those who do not have good quality sleep are more likely to get sick if they are exposed to viruses, and they have a harder time recovering from illnesses or flu-like states. 

6- What are the stages of sleep?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, when you sleep you go through a cycle of two sleep phases: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. The cycle restarts every 80 to 100 minutes. Typically, 4 to 6 cycles are experienced per night. One may wake up briefly between cycles. 

During REM sleep, the eyes blink and the brain is active. Brain activity measured during REM sleep is similar to brain activity during waking hours. Dreams usually occur during this stage of sleep. 

Now, non-REM sleep has three stages, defined by measurements of brain activity obtained in sleep studies, and these are: 

Stage 1: This stage is the transition between wakefulness and sleep.

Stage 2: Upon reaching stage 2, you are asleep

Stage 3: This stage is called deep sleep or slow-wave sleep, after a specific pattern that shows up in measurements of brain activity. Usually, more time is spent in this stage at the beginning of the night

7- Why shouldn’t you sleep with your cell phone on the bedside table?

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), sleeping near a cell phone could cause salivary gland and acoustic nerve tumors, brain cancer, headaches (constant migraine), fatigue, and reduced cognitive abilities. 

The damage to health caused by sleeping near technological devices is due to the electromagnetic radiation they emit, therefore, the CDPH suggests keeping a certain distance between mobile devices and the body, especially at night. 

8- Is it bad to sleep with background noise?

Dr. Rebecca Robbins, the researcher of a study published in the journal Sleep Health, argues that “often, in front of the television, what we see is the nightly news. It is something that will inevitably cause insomnia or stress before the break or when we are trying to relax .” The specialist adds that another problem with screens such as television, smartphones, and tablets is that they produce blue light, which can delay the body’s production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone.

9- What do dreams say about our emotional state?

“Dreams talk about us and give us very valuable information to reflect on our shadows: those dark parts or hidden traumas that we don’t want to touch —and sometimes we bury our whole lives—, but that can surface in our body through illness if we do not work and integrate them. They also provide us with information about talents and potentials that we can develop ”, details Magdalena Demaría, one of the greatest experts in Onirology in Argentina in a hand in hand that she had with LA NACION.

10- Why do some people not remember dreams?

“We all dream, even if we can’t always remember. The reasons can be various but they are generally associated with a mechanism of repression: not wanting to know what is going on inside me. Sometimes, it may be that the person is too plugged in with the outside and her interiority remains on another plane, or that she cannot symbolize due to severe traumas”, answers Demaría. 

11- What do nightmares represent?

For Demaría, they represent an unconscious content that is inside of one and that in turn seeks a reaction. Sigmund Freud answered this same question decades ago and at the time explained that according to his theory these dreams represent a (traumatic) situation that has not been able to be psychically elaborated and, for this reason, they serve a more original function, which is that of handle the overflow. 

12- Do you sleep worse when you snore?

Snoring occurs when the walls of the throat relax and tighten during sleep, at which time breathing may stop briefly. Likewise, snoring can be harmless, but it can also be a sign of a sleep apnea disorder. 

People with this condition are more likely to develop high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, and to have a heart attack or stroke. One of the warning signs is loud snoring.

13- Why do you snore?

“People snore because the full breadth of air can’t get in and everything starts to vibrate so we can breathe; that vibration is what produces the sound of snoring,” says Kent Smith, a Dallas-based sleep dentist and former president of the American Academy of Sleep and Breathing, in a New York Times note. 

Smith adds that excessively dry or humid air can make snoring worse, and that sleeping on your back or drinking alcohol before bedtime also tends to make it worse, as the muscles relax more and allow the tongue to block the throat and restrict breathing. air passage. 

14- When should we worry about snoring?

Snoring is not a disease in itself, but it can sometimes be a sign of sleep apnea, a disorder that can be very serious in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly throughout the night and prevents the person has a good night’s rest. 

If a polysomnogram reveals that snoring disrupts sleep more than 30 times an hour, the person may have more serious problems in the future, such as heart disease and all the problems that arise from lack of sleep, such as depression and anxiety. 

15- What is the effect of sleeping with someone who snores?

A recent study conducted by Dr. Neil Stanley, director of the Sleep Research unit at the University of Surrey, England, revealed that sleeping alone gives a person an additional 49 minutes of good sleep. 

The study found that couples who share a bed have 50% more sleep problems than those who sleep in separate beds. And for most adults who regularly share a bed, that could explain why they sometimes wake up feeling groggy or tired. 

16- What are the effects of sleeping with a pet?

Data compiled by the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Phoenix says that more than half of pet owners seen at the clinic allowed their pet to sleep in the bedroom, with most finding their pet to be “inconspicuous .” or even beneficial for sleep.” 

Another study put sleep trackers on dogs and their humans to measure the quality of sleep for both. People who had their dogs in their room got a decent night’s rest (as did the dogs). 

17- How to avoid bruxism and why is it key?

For Mayo Clinic professionals, nocturnal bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People who clench or grind their teeth while sleeping are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring or pauses in breathing (sleep apnea). 

The same specialists recommend following these self-care measures to prevent or help treat bruxism: 

Reduce stress. Listening to music, taking a hot bath or exercising are activities that can help you relax and can reduce the risk of bruxism

Avoid consuming stimulant substances at night. Do not drink caffeinated coffee or tea after dinner and avoid drinking alcohol in the evening, as these can worsen bruxism

Maintain good sleep habits. Getting a good night’s sleep, which can include treating sleep problems, can help reduce teeth grinding

Talk to the couple. If you sleep with a person, they may be asked to pay attention to any grinding or clicking sounds you might make while sleeping and then report them to your dentist or doctor.

Schedule regular dental exams. Dental exams are the best way to identify bruxism. The dentist may notice signs of bruxism in the mouth and jaw during regular examinations and visits. 

18- What can I do to fall asleep faster?

The first key point is to sleep the hours recommended by professionals: that is, a minimum of eight hours of rest per night and avoid sleeping more than 10 hours. You can also do treatments such as phototherapy – a treatment technique that uses electromagnetic radiation of natural or artificial origin for the treatment of diseases -, taking melatonin supplements, restricting sleep – spending fewer hours in the room and bed – and “diets ” of information and news, are some of the most used resources. 

19- Does food influence sleep?

Good sleep is built hours before bedtime, which is why professionals recommend eating dinner around four hours before bedtime, avoiding any heavy, caffeinated or sugary foods that could cause one to wake up during the night. 

20- Do you restless if you go to the bathroom at night?

The amount of urine the body produces is reduced at night, allowing you to sleep for longer hours at a time. Also, waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night is more common than you think, especially in the elderly since the retention of the kidneys is less. 

At this point it is essential to record the number of times: doing it two or more times is related to a decrease in the quality of sleep and life, which is why medicine calls this condition nocturia. The World Health Organization recommends doing the following to try to prevent this problem:

Follow a diet rich in vegetables and low in red meat, saturated fat, salt, sugar, and calcium

Eat whole grains and vegetable fats

Avoid overweight and obesity by doing sports

Sleeping in a horizontal position (for example, not sleeping in armchairs)

Avoid long trips (that force you to endure a long time without urinating)

21- What are micro-arousals?

During the hours of rest, a series of microarousals and brief awakenings take place that carries out important functions for the organism. “It is completely normal to have microarousals and wake up for a few seconds. Thanks to these, we can remember our dreams the next morning and wake up properly. Babies have them, too, and as they get older, they learn to go back to sleep right after. We also find these episodes in adolescents and adults”, explains Claudio Waisburg, neurologist (MN 98.128) and Medical Director of the SOMA Institute. The specialist adds that they are physiological events and it is considered within normal parameters to have up to ten per hour.

22- Why does insomnia occur and what types are there?

Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep at night, or waking up too early in the morning. The most common causes include stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. 

In his book “Make the night. Sleeping and waking up in a world that is lost”, the Chilean psychoanalyst, Constanza Michelson tells that there is a saying that says “being born guarantees insomnia”: if you are already born, it is because you are going to have insomnia at some time. And he adds in it that there are two types of insomnia: the neurotic, which is the one that does not allow going to sleep with a clear conscience, because he is always in debt, has a concern, thinks “what a fool I was, why didn’t I say this”; and on the other hand, insomnia that was triggered by the pandemic that is not neurotic but rather quiet, in him his patients are like “awake corpses”.

 

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