This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to Sarah Jones © 2017.
Published here July 2017

Editor's Introduction | Lack of Sleep Directly Causes Higher Levels of Stress 
Lack of Sleep Leads to Negative Emotions and Depression
Causes of a Bad Night's Sleep: Health, Sleep Apnea, Psychology
More Causes: Environment, Noise, Stimulants, Food | Calming Ourselves After a Stressful Day

Causes of a Bad Night's Sleep: Health, Sleep Apnea, Psychology

Obviously, we now understand how major a detriment lack of sleep can be on your mental state, decision-making and health generally, but what if you're suffering from sleep deprivation and it's not your fault? There can be many simple, surprising things that interrupt a decent night's sleep, including:

  • Health. Whilst health isn't a direct indicator of whether you're going to suffer from a bad night's sleep, it's a certainty that ill health can directly cause interrupted or restless night's sleep. For starters, obesity is a major contributor to sleep apnea, and with over 18 million Americans overweight, this is a problem that's probably more prevalent than you'd think.
  • Sleep apnea. This is a disorder where the increased pressure on your chest and neck from being overweight causes complications in breathings, including shallow breaths and pauses in your respiratory pattern that can last up to several minutes at a time! This slowly starves your brain of oxygen, leading to daytime fatigue, muddied thinking and slower decisions, all things we can't afford in our line of work. So that's yet another reason to get to the gym.
  • Psychology. But perhaps the top reason is the most obvious. It is much harder to get yourself into the mindset to sleep easily when there's something on your mind. I'm sure that we've all been worried about something upcoming, or had an argument with a boss or spouse, and let it affect our emotions.

    If you're concerned about something, or there's something major occurring tomorrow, it's natural for it to play on your consciousness, and when you can't relax, you can't sleep. There is good reason for the old aphorism to count sheep to get some shuteye. It takes your mind off of the stresses of life and allows you to relax.

    But suppose there is something that you just cannot dismiss. For example, there is a particular set of instructions or a complex problem that you are finding difficult to crack. Or you are faced with the difficult situation of having to let someone go and are definitely not looking forward to that. Then there's a trick for getting it out of your mind: Write it down!

    This frees you up psychologically, letting you get that all-important rest. Plus, this method also seems to contribute to your subconscious working with the problem. There have been multiple times when I've been working on something that was initially outside of my comfort zone, only to wake up with the answer right there in front of me.
Lack of Sleep Leads to Negative Emotions and Depression  Lack of Sleep Leads to Negative Emotions and Depression

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