It’s time to face facts. When it comes to getting some decent shut-eye, you need help, so we thought you might be interested in learning more about the different kinds of insomnia (yes, different types exist!), the consequences related to a prolonged, chronic lack of quality sleep and more importantly, what you can do to improve your sleep quality, like incorporating the use of CBD into your regular routine. Read on…
1. The Characteristics of a Poor or Non-Sleeper
When you don’t get enough sleep, or the sleep you do get isn’t restorative in nature, things start to happen. Poor sleepers or non-sleepers may be suffering from psychological trauma (including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), their cognitive abilities become limited, physical health can be compromised (development of diabetes, obesity, or chronic tiredness) and we become more susceptible to obesity and diabetes, we’re more likely to be irritable in general, and we never seem to have the physical energy we need to get us through the day.
2. You’re not the only one
The fact is tons of people can’t get enough sleep, the fast pace of life and the normal stresses of our daily routines interfere with our ability to experience high quality sleep.
If you enjoy digesting facts and figures, you might be interested to note the following sleep stats, shared by the team at The Sleep Foundation.
- Adults between 18 and 64 need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Adults over 65 need 7-8 hours.
- Almost half of all Americans say they feel sleepy during the day, between three and seven days per week.
- 42.6% of single parents sleep less than seven hours per night compared to 32.7% of adults in two-parent homes and 31% of adults with no children.
- 32.6% of working adults reported sleeping six or fewer hours per night in 2017-2018, up from 28.4% in 2008-2009.
- Between 10% and 30% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia.
- Women have a lifetime risk of insomnia that is as much as 40% higher than that of men.
- Up to 66% of people talk in their sleep at some point in their lives, but only 17% of people say it has happened in the last three months.
- For adults over age 40, 69% of men and 76% of women get up to go to the bathroom at least once per night.
- Around 57% of men and 40% of women in the U.S. snore.
- 41% of primary care patients say that they experienced night sweats in the last month.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) makes women at least two times as likely to report insomnia-like symptoms before and during their period.
Around 50% of pregnant women experience insomnia-like symptoms.
3. What is Sleep Quality and how do you measure it?
Sleep quality is, quite simply, the measurement of how well you’re sleeping. What’s most interesting is that many of us think that our sleep quality is better than it actually is. This has to do with what’s called sleep satisfaction, a term used to subjectively describe the way we feel about the kind of sleep we get. For instance, you might sleep 8 hours a day and feel pretty energized the next day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually getting enough quality sleep, because quality sleep is difficult to measure. So, here are a few quick tips to see where you stand in terms of sleep quality…
How long does it take you to drift off to sleep? If you’re dreaming like a baby within 30 minutes or less, it suggests that the quality of your sleep is good.
If you wake up once a night, or not at all, it suggests that your sleep quality is good. More than that and you need to do better.
After you fall asleep for the first time, do you then spend periods of time awake? If you’re awake for more than 20 minutes during the night, then the quality of your sleep is not where it needs to be.
At least 85% of the time you spend in bed should be dedicated to sleeping. So, how do you fair here? Are you awake for longer? Do you do other things in bed that might reduce the efficiency of your sleep?
If you’re interested in taking a test to calculate your sleep quality score, you can try using the Oura Sleep Tool.
4. Different types of insomnia
If you actually can’t get to sleep (sleep onset), or you wake up in the middle of the night and then can’t get back into your sleep (sleep maintenance), you’re suffering from insomnia. Some people suffer from chronic insomnia that can last for months or even years. Others are affected every now and then by short-term insomnia, with bouts of better sleeping in between.
5. The 6 basic reasons why we don’t get enough quality sleep
In general, poor sleep quality is caused by a state of hyperarousal, either mental or physical, and it can be triggered by a range of circumstances and health issues, including the following…
When we’re stressed, it’s not only our brains that go into hyperarousal. Our bodies begin to fill with tension too. Tension in your body can make it difficult to sleep and many of us suffer from stress-related tension, without even realizing it. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a way in which you can combat stress-related insomnia. You can find more information on PMR in the next section.
Irregular sleep schedules
In a new study, researchers discovered that fluctuating levels of sleep and irregular bedtimes and wake-up times disrupt the brain’s system, leaving it in a state of high alert, making it difficult for quality sleep to occur, even when we are sleeping. The study revealed that irregular sleep schedules are what put people at an increased risk for a number of chronic health issues, including obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
Alcohol or caffeine consumption
While alcohol may aid with sleep onset due to its sedative properties, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly, drinking before bed often disrupts the quality of the later stages of sleep in a regular sleep cycle, because the liver is actively metabolizing enzymes present in the alcohol you consumed. Most people know that caffeine is a major stimulant, which is why it’s a key player in bouts of insomnia, but it’s also important to know that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock and actually encourage you to sleep for a shorter period of time.
Too much cell phone use before bed
Most of us know that using a cell phone, or other electrical device, before bed isn’t a good idea, because the interaction stimulates our brain and keeps us awake for longer. However, fewer people know the dangers of the blue light emitted by our cell phones. New research has found a correlation between suppressed levels of melatonin and exposure to blue light. Melatonin is a hormone responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle. So when your body runs low on it, you can experience insomnia, tiredness during the day and irritability.
Late afternoon naps
Homeostatic sleep pressure, also known as your sleep drive, is one of the reasons why you feel energized after waking up and gradually become more tired as the day progresses. While a brief nap of 15 minutes can be refreshing and restorative, especially early in the day and if you are sleep deprived, longer naps late in the afternoon can negatively impact your sleep quality and sleep duration because they actively interfere with the nature of your homeostatic sleep pressure.
Mental health disorders or physical illness
Anyone suffering from a mental health disorder (depression, anxiety, PTSD, as examples) or a physical health complaint that might be causing pain or require that the patient take a number of medications with possible side-effects, is at risk of insomnia or poor sleep quality because all of these instances place us under a great deal of stress. In recent years, studies have gone into more detail about the relationship between stress and sleep. Stress has been associated with the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and the sympatho-adrenal-medullary axes, whereas corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and cortisol (products of the hypothalamus and adrenals, respectively), and catecholamines (products of the sympathetic system) are known to cause arousal and sleeplessness to humans and animals.
6. What can you do?
Here are some simple, yet effective, things you can do to help improve your sleep quality. You can…
- Schedule your workout for the morning, or hit the gym during your lunch hour, instead of exercising too close to bedtime, which will make you more susceptible to a state of hyperarousal.
- Give Progressive Muscle Relaxation a try. PMR has been an accepted evidence-based treatment for insomnia for twenty years and it’s a great tool for de-stressing your body.
- Avoid alcohol use after 7pm at night and enjoy your caffeine fix in the mornings only.
- Keep your cell phone and other technological devices out of the bedroom. Invest in some blackout curtains, or blinds. Stop looking at electronic devices for at least an hour before you go to bed and take the damage to your melatonin levels, caused by the blue light effect, seriously.
- Try tracking your sleep regularly with an Apple Watch Sleep Tracker or a Fitbit.
- Only nap during the morning or right after lunch.
- If sleeping with a partner who snores loudly or moves constantly is keeping you awake, consider separate rooms or basic fixes to help with loud snoring.
- Make sure you know all the details concerning possible side effects of any medication you might be taking and talk with your doctor if you think it might be the medication that’s disrupting your sleep quality.
- Try meditating, either by following a course at home or finding a face-to-face meditation group to help strengthen your meditation skills in general.
- Give the soothing and natural powers of tea a try. Chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower and magnolia bark, are six teas especially effective at improving sleep quality for different reasons. You can access more information on each tea type here.
Incorporate the use of a CBD oil (also known as a tincture) into your regular routine. Our LEVEL1500 cinnamon-flavored tincture is our most potent tincture, designed to induce an incredibly deep and restful sleep. It’s particularly effective for those who enjoy exercise, or who live to be active, because it can help prepare you for sleep, even after the most intense workout, in just 20 minutes.