There is an obvious reason why we use the simile sleep like a baby to indicate restful or sound sleep: because as we age, we find that peaceful, rejuvenating night of sleep increasingly elusive. We find that sleep problems in adults abound later in life. Let us look at why this is so.
With the pressures that daily life creates, many of us find ourselves succumbing to what is known as poor sleep hygiene. Not having regular hours, working too much, unmanaged stress, staying up to late, using medications and being reliant on other substances, over-stimulation with TV and so on makes for poor sleep hygiene.
We shouldn’t be having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, nor should we be feeling tired and sleepy during the day time. Yet we often do and suffer a range of frequently seen sleep problems in adults such as Insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, somnambulism (sleep walking), restless leg syndrome and others that negatively impact life.
Many of us have various aches and pains that can compromise a good night’s sleep. Additionally there could be other undiagnosed health issues that contribute to sleep disturbances. For instance women in particular tend to be subject to hormonal changes and imbalances that could cause these disturbances: lower levels of estrogen caused by menopause or otherwise could result in increased risk of sleep disorders.
Stress and lifestyle
With the multiple work and home pressures that most of us are subject to, our peace of mind is a casualty. As we try to fit a million and one things into our day and try to make time for family as well, stress is the result. With so many other priorities, sleep and rest become less of a priority and increased stress is known to increase risk of depression and other psychological problems.
What is also a casualty in all the hurly burly is exercise. We typically don’t have time for proper exercise which exacerbates the problem. Those who work the night shift or those whose jobs involve a lot of travel across time zones can have disturbed and disordered sleep patterns.
Diet and substance abuse
Poor diet and the reliance on certain substances can further contribute to sleep problems in adults. Drinking too much coffee or too many sodas a day, smoking or use of alcohol or recreational drugs can hamper sleep and cause disturbances.
Hormonal changes due to age can cause sleep disturbances and difficulty falling and staying asleep. However, sleep is so crucial to our good health and wellbeing and we cannot afford to ignore sleep disorders.