“I go to bed early, get up early. If anything interrupts my sleep, that gives me an early warning sign to take action. ”
Our sleeping patterns can affect how well we feel throughout the day.
If we have quality sleep, we wake up feeling refreshed. We are better able to cope with challenges and come up with better ideas, and we get along better with the people around us. In contrast, when we don't get quality sleep, we can feel fuzzy and irritable, and it can also lead to increased anxiety and depression.
At different times in your life you can experience changes in your sleep patterns - like during adolescence and times of stress, having a new baby, or going through menopause. There are lots of different things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep, from changing the light in your room to keeping a sleep diary.
You might like to ask people you know if they have trouble sleeping. They may have some good tips to share. You’ll also find many online resources like forums, apps, and chat rooms where you can pick up ideas and share your story as well. We have some resources below to help you get started.
So, how well are you sleeping?
A closer look
Good sleep habits are often referred to as sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to all the things you do that benefit your sleep - like going to bed at a regular time, avoiding things that may keep you awake (like caffeine), and getting enough exercise and sunlight during the day. Developing good sleep habits can help you have a better night's sleep. (Source)
A good night’s sleep lasts through the night
The quality of your sleep suffers when you take too long to fall asleep, wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep, or wake up too early. Bad dreams, snoring, restlessness, noises or pain, can also affect sleep quality.
Deep sleep may detox the brain
Why do you feel so good after a deep sleep? One reason is that deep sleep appears to flush toxins from your brain. Unlike the rest of your body, which uses the lymphatic system to continually drain toxins, your brain has a different method. A study of mice's brains suggests that when you sleep, the space between brain cells increases by up to 60%. This extra space helps wash out toxins that have built up during the day. A well-rested brain helps you feel refreshed and ready to respond to a new day. (Source)
Sleep deprivation affects your performance
Staying awake for up to 16 hours at a stretch can have the same effect on your performance as a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. After 24 hours that will increase to 0.1% and will significantly increase your risk of having an accident. (Source)
What we consume can disturb our sleep patterns
Caffeine in coffee, tea and other drinks can reduce the quality and quantity of our sleep - especially if they are consumed in the late afternoon and evening. Likewise nicotine, alcohol and other substances or medications can disturb sleep patterns. (Source)
Your eyes expect darkness
Small lights in your bedroom can have a big effect on sleep. Blue lights in particular, like digital displays and LEDs, can trigger the production of melatonin and serotonin, which affects wakefulness and sleepiness. (Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).