Monday, September 18, 2017

Common Substances That Can Affect Your Sleep

More of us than ever are taking prescription medications for a variety of ailments. Each of these comes with a long patient information leaflet that, in reality, few people actually read. Because of this, there is a surprising lack of awareness regarding the side effects of a number of common medications. These can have an impact on the ease with which we are able to fall asleep, and the quality of the sleep we have when we do get there.
Understanding how these common substances impact our sleep is important, especially where the medications concerned are anti depressants or anti anxiety drugs, two conditions which can be worsened by inadequate sleep.


Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to inhibiting the quality of our sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that works by inhibiting the action of a chemical called adenosine.
Adenosine is an endogenous compound which accumulates in cells and triggers feelings of tiredness. Caffeine stops adenosine from binding to cells and in doing so stops it exerting its effects. This reduces feelings of tiredness and increases our wakefulness and alertness.
Caffeine can have an impact on sleep for many hours after your last cup, and while those with a tolerance, are often able to get to sleep after drinking caffeine, they experience a significant reduction in the quality of their sleep. Caffeine should be avoided in the latter half of the day to ensure that it doesn’t affect the quality of your sleep.


Many people use alcohol as a form of sleep-aid. Because it acts as a depressant, alcohol can induce sleep. However, the quality of sleep achieved is nowhere near as good as that attained through natural sleep. There is also evidence to suggest that alcohol can worsen the effects of sleep apnea in those that suffer from the disorder; this will further impair the quality of sleep.

Beta Blockers

There are a number of prescription drugs that affect sleep. Beta-blockers are a class of drug used to reduce blood pressure by blocking adrenaline from binding to receptors on the heart. These have been shown by a number of studies to reduce the amount of time spent in REM (the level where dreaming occurs), this leads to ‘shallow dreaming’ where a person dreams with only weak REM involvement. This manifests as very vivid dreams, but for some people these can be unpleasant.

What You Can Do?

For those taking prescription drugs in particular, it is sometimes unavoidable that you will consume substances that have an impact on your sleep. In order to improve your sleep anyway you should, first and foremost, invest in a good quality mattress, to induce the most comfortable sleep possible.
If you’re still struggling with sleeping soundly, maybe look for buyer’s guides and reviews to help you find the right mattress to aid your sleep. Those on are useful as you can even find extra sleep tips if you continue to suffer from lack of sleep.
Another option is to invest in a white noise machine that could help you get to sleep initially if that’s what you’re particularly struggling with. Some machines even turn the sound off after a certain amount of time as to not wake you up.

Getting a good night’s sleep is of tantamount importance for those looking to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Understanding how delicate the balance is can help ensure that you get a good night every night.

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