Want a better night’s sleep?

Unfortunately, most of us have minor sleep difficulties from time-to-time. However, regular interruptions to sleep could be symptomatic of a sleeping disorder. Sleep is crucial for both body and mind, so incorporating some easy ideas into your regular routine will help.

How important is sleeping well?
Experts have long stressed that an eight-hour sleeping cycle is necessary for optimum mental and physical health. According to The Medical Journal of Australia, sleep deficiency has been linked to a slew of negative side effects including decreased alertness and cognition, low productivity, difficulty learning and even severe pathophysiological conditions that can lead to the metabolic and cardiovascular illnesses.

If you are having trouble sleeping take heart knowing that you aren’t alone. The Medical Journal of Australia has noted that 25-35% of Australians demonstrated some kind of disrupted sleep schedule, low sleeping time or excessive sleepiness. Around half of these issues are directly attributable to sleep disorders. These sleep disorders have a huge economic impact on the country - an estimated $5.1 billion every year. With $800 million being spent on healthcare related costs, experts estimate the remaining billions are lost due to a decrease in productivity in the work-place.

Common sleeping issues
We all struggle with sleep at times, so it's important to understand the difference between a standard interruption to our schedules and a sleeping disorder. The most common sleeping disorders are insomnia and sleep apnea, two serious conditions that can affect your disposition and overall sense of well-being.

Insomnia is the most common condition associated with sleep. Sufferers will often struggle with the process of getting to sleep, or will wake up frequently during the night. The quality of sleep is also affected and sufferers often report that frustrating feeling of never quite getting to reach a deep level of sleep. Doctors look for a potential link with anxiety disorders and according to the National Sleep Foundation, patients with persistent and untreated insomnia are 2-10 times more likely to experience major depression.

Sleep apnea is another common sleep disorder that affects many of us. This is a more severe and threatening physical condition than insomnia and requires medical attention. It is essentially a condition where breathing temporarily stops during sleep when an upper airway is blocked. This leads to waking up tired and temperamental. Sufferers may not remember their disruptions, though their loved ones will - loud snoring and gasping or ‘snorting’ sounds are common symptoms of sleep apnea. If you experience sleep apnea, consult your doctor. A breathing device known as a CPAP is commonly prescribed, so get informed and see if it can help you or someone you love.

Aiming to get into a habit to exercise regular to help your sleeping patterns? Walking is the easiest way to incorporate activity into your day, plus it is free! Find out more here.

Have you had any personal experience with some of the sleep disorders discussed here? What have you found has helped? Join our conversation below…