If you have found yourself staring at the ceiling and counting more than a thousand sheep every night, you are not alone, according to local experts.
The majority of Canadians are sleep-deprived, and it can take a major toll on your mental and physical well-being.
The current recommended amount of sleep an adult should be getting is seven to nine hours a night.
But according to Stats Can one in two adults has trouble going to or staying asleep. One in five reports not finding sleep refreshing and one in three have difficulty staying awake in the daytime.
Research shows a severe lack of sleep can lead to multiple different problems such as dementia, heart attacks, strokes, and more.
“It can affect things like blood pressure, we can see it affects things like diabetes,” said Andrew Hoskins, Careica Health Manager.
In addition, a lack of sleep can really affect your mood, it can cause you to be impatient, anxious, and sad.
Unfortunately, sleep issues can be difficult to catch as they develop over time, and you end up not realizing you have an issue.
“It’s not like one day you feel fine and the next thing you know you have a sleep problem,” he said.
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One of the reasons for poor sleep hygiene is a condition known as sleep apnea which Hoskins specializes in treating.
Roughly 65 per cent of patients who come in for screening wind up testing positive for sleep apnea. According to Hoskins there are a lot higher instances present in women.
“They have more of the shallow breathing and not quite the pauses in breathing, whereas in men we see a lot more where they have the real pauses in breathing,” he said.
That being said there are many other causes for poor sleep hygiene and experts have pointed to COVID-19 as a culprit for people’s damaged sleep patterns these past few years.
“75 per cent or more report some sleep disturbance related to COVID,” said University of Manitoba professor Diana McMillan in March.
However, that may not be the only thing causing you to roll over and constantly check the time as various life stressors can be a big contributor.
“Whether it’s the conditions in Ukraine or increases at the pump, they’re adding stressors as well.” she said.
Additionally, there have been some sleep drawbacks in people’s lives due to working remotely.
“That whole routine of getting up, getting out the door and going to a different place to work for many individuals has been disrupted,” McMillian said.
While there may be many contributors to one’s poor sleep hygiene all hope is not lost as there are many things you can do to improve sleep.
“Getting back into a good exercise routine will help us reduce our stressors and support a healthy fatigue, which really helps you to fall asleep and stay asleep,” McMillian said.
Additionally, people can start establishing a regular wake-up routine, waking up at the same time as much as possible, and trying to have the same bedtime will keep people in a much better sleep cycle.
— With files from Global’s Keesha Harewood