Expert reveals the top 5 reasons we get a bad night’s sleep

bad night's sleep

As part of its holistic approach to weight-loss, Clinical Nutritionist and Coach at Voy, Emily Wood, has revealed the reasons as to why we get a bad night’s sleep.

Prioritising everything over sleep: Across our life the amount of sleep and when we want to sleep changes, but often socialising, working, or getting in an hour to ourselves can push our sleep routine to the edge and nearly to extinction. Despite the growing evidence that sleep really is the ultimate self-care ritual, often one of the main reasons we get a bad night’s sleep is because we just don’t think we need to prioritise it.

Stress and Anxiety: Racing thoughts and shallow breathing can prevent our body from moving into a restful physiological state. Chronic stress and anxiety are known to negatively impact sleep. The UK Mental Health Foundation found that high-stress levels are associated with difficulties in falling and staying asleep. The body’s stress response can release cortisol (a stress hormone), which can interfere with our sleep-wake cycle. Cortisol is a key factor that can impact clients at Voy when trying to achieve a healthy sleep routine, affecting their insulin response and sometimes impacting their weight goals.

bad night's sleep

Poor Sleep Hygiene: Sleep hygiene is the routine we have around our sleeping window. Irregular sleep patterns, excessive use of electronic devices before bedtime, and an uncomfortable sleep environment (for example the room being too hot) can disrupt our circadian rhythm. These can all make it harder to wind down, stopping us from having restful sleep. Sometimes when working from home or studying it can be easy to snuggle back up in bed during our work day. This can lead to us associating that environment with activities other than sleep often meaning we feel less at rest in that space.

Caffeine and Alcohol Intake: Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Consuming caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, or energy drinks, especially in the evening, can disrupt the body’s ability to wind down and transition into sleep. Similarly, alcohol can act in a sedative manner to initiate drowsiness but actually reduces the quality of our sleep and can cause restlessness throughout the night. 

Medical Conditions: Conditions such as sleep apnoea, insomnia, and chronic pain are all medical conditions that can significantly alter our sleep quality. Identifying and treating these underlying conditions is crucial for improving sleep for those living with these conditions.

  • Comment provided by Emily Wood, Coach and Nutritionist at Voy. 

Emily is an AFN accredited registered Clinical Nutritionist (MSc Eating Disorders and Clinical nutrition UCL, BSc Biological Sciences; Infectious Disease & Microbiology).

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