Part 4 of our sleep blog series

Y’all in the past three blogs we have talked about 

Sleep Blog 1: Why we need sleep 

  • It has significant effects on our health, mood, and energy levels. 

Sleep Blog 2: Sleep stages and what each stage does. 

  1. Light Sleep- not restorative but light sleep is the passageway from Deep Sleep to Dream Sleep.
  2. Dream Sleep – helps regulate memory, stimulates the nervous system, and regulates brain chemistry
  3. Deep Sleep – the most restorative stage, produces growth hormones that strengthen muscles, fortifies bones, helps us recover from injuries, and boosts immune system functioning. 

Sleep Blog 3: It takes all day to sleep all night focused on the rhythm in which we live our lives. What we do during the day affects our sleep at night. 

Today we are focusing on what interrupts our sleep. Often we are easily able to drift into sleep at night but find ourselves awake just a couple hours later. It is so frustrating.

You may be surprised that some of our day time habits interrupt our night sleep. 

  1.  Nicotine is a stimulant. A stimulant is a type of drug that increases activity in the central nervous system. Nicotine is included in all types of tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and Nicorette gum. Reducing or ending your use of nicotine products could improve your sleep.
  2. Caffeine is also a stimulant- drinking it even six hours before bed can reduce your Deep Sleep time by as much as 1 hour. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. We don’t have to stop enjoying things with caffeine but paying attention to when we enjoy them may help us rest better.
  3. Alcohol, I was surprised to learn, interrupts sleep as well! We often experience alcohol as something that makes us sleepy. According to The Sleep Solution by W. Chris Winter, MD, alcohol is the number 1 sleep aid in America because it is cheap and effective. BUT…
  • it worsens our quality of sleep.
  • leads to more awakenings in the night.
  • worsens BREATHING problems!!!!

Are you as surprised as I am to learn that alcohol affects sleep?

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about sleep.What else would you like to know about sleep?

Leave me a question and I will do my best to answer.

~ Donna Durham, MMFT