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Reducing sleep disorders: 16 environmental influences against insomnia

Sleep problems are not just harmless disorders, they can also cause significant health problems. The causes can be organic or psychological, but the right environment can also contribute to better sleep.

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Sleep disorders and insomnia: The problems are often deeper

Those who have sleep disorders often suffer considerably, night after night, day after day. Indeed, many people know the problem of lying awake in bed and rolling back and forth in bed for hours. And to know exactly: The next morning you will feel like you are exhausted and, above all, will be too tired to work productively all day.

One is inclined to dismiss the consequences of frequently occurring insomnia as lapidary, but in fact they go far beyond fatigue, irritability and mood swings. Short-term disturbance of short-term memory or problems with concentration are among the more harmless results of nightly struggles with your own body. But who would have thought that long-term sleep disorders could lead to obesity, a higher susceptibility to infections, premature aging and even chronic illnesses.

Sleep and health: what does medicine say?

It wasn't until 2017 that Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the circadian rhythm of cells - what is commonly referred to as the internal clock. And everything about chronobiology is far from being researched. Also Dr. Chris Winter writes in his book “Tired Was Yesterday. How to treat your sleep disorder yourself and find sleep again ”, published by MVG in 2018, about the connection between health and good sleep:

“Poor sleep is probably the most harmful to our cardiovascular system. Tens of studies have shown that poor sleep quality increases the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. Most, but not all, studies focus on sleep apnea, a condition in which the upper respiratory tract collapses and the sleeper can no longer breathe. Recent research has shown that any condition that causes sleep interruptions (not just sleep apnea) has the potential to raise blood pressure. Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the heart begins to beat unevenly (irregular heartbeat). This is not a good thing, because only a coordinated heartbeat (transition from the atrium to the chamber) ensures that the blood is pumped through the heart quickly and efficiently. When someone develops atrial fibrillation, the coordinated efforts of different parts of the heart are lost, causing blood to accumulate in the heart. The rapid flow of blood is one of the mechanisms that prevent the formation of blood clots. If the blood stalls for a long time, blood clots can form. If blood clots form, they can have negative consequences such as stroke and pulmonary embolism. All things you don't want. Your sleep can affect whether you develop a moody heart rhythm and a large blood clot in the leg! Studies have shown that people prone to atrial fibrillation can reduce the risk of the disorder coming back after treatment if they are treated for sleep apnea that may be present. When subjects had their breathing disorder treated, their risk of developing atrial fibrillation decreased from 82 percent to 42 percent! ”

Poor sleep - what are the reasons?

There are many different reasons why someone sleeps poorly - physical, illness-related or even stress and deep-seated psychological problems can lead to unwanted insomnia. Potential reasons include:

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  • Sensory overload
  • Pressure to perform in everyday work, trouble at work, shift work
  • Hormonal changes, such as in menopause or due to illness
  • Addictions like alcohol, niction or harder drugs
  • health problems up to depressive illnesses
  • Medication (with and without stimulant effect)
  • Relationship problems, family worries
  • inner restlessness, fears and panic

The influence of the environment on sleep

Those who suffer from sleep disorders are happy to take on distracting activities even in the middle of the night. But this is actually problematic: light, for example, reduces the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, this applies in particular to overhead light that comes from above. Therefore, the advice given to read a book should only be taken to heart with side light sources. It is even worse to sit at the computer at night because the blue light literally acts like a stimulant - I speak from my own experience.

In cooperation with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), the Kur-Stadt Füssen has carried out a study on lifestyle-related sleep disorders and has also developed a certification process for hotels that is based on a catalog of criteria developed by the Kempten University of Applied Sciences.

What is the optimal sleeping environment?

So what does the optimal sleeping environment look like? What should you pay attention to when choosing your place to sleep? The most important criteria for an ideal place to sleep are listed below:

  1. Bed: Bed system consisting of an elastic spring system and a modern, well-kept mattress with a total height of at least 22 cm. Single beds of at least 1,00 mx 2,00 m and double beds of at least 1,80 mx 2,00 m.
  2. slatted with min. 28 female connectors, with flexible edge support, shoulder zone and adjustable central zone. No electrically adjustable slatted frames without mains isolation.
  3. Mattress: Modern cold foam, latex mattress (at least 14 cm high) with a body zone structure (at least 3 zones) and elastic mattress cover, removable, washable and breathable). No innerspring mattress because innerspring contains metal. Age of the mattress is a maximum of 10 years.
  4. Duvet and pillow: Sufficiently large duvet with a minimum size of 135/200 cm, better 155/200 cm, ideally made of natural materials. Bed and terry towels are made of natural materials (cotton, linen, wool, silk, etc.). The age of the duvet and pillow is a maximum of 5 years.
  5. Blackout option: The room should be completely darkened, so at least curtains made of dense material or the like; blackout must also be possible with tilted windows.
  6. Ventilation: Night ventilation (window opening) is possible without disturbing noise or light emissions
  7. Alarm clock: No live alarm clock next to the bed, only battery operated alarm clock.
  8. Room lighting: Appropriate room lighting with graded day, evening and night light and low-level light as evening lighting. No halogen lights in the room.
  9. reading light on the bed should come from the side because ceiling light stimulates melatonin production. No energy saving lamps.
  10. Electrosmog: No electrical appliances in the bed area (except for the lamp), stand-by functions can be switched off Avoiding cable clutter around and under the bed. No cell phones next to the bed.
  11. WiFi Targeted use of cordless radio systems such as WLAN / dLAN wireless in sleeping areas, e.g. switchable routers and / or shielded areas. Nighttime shutdown of cordless radio systems such as WLAN / DLAN Wireless in sleeping areas for at least 6 hours or more (around midnight - 24.00 a.m.).
  12. Sound insulation: Adequate soundproofing of the windows or quiet location of the bedroom as well as sound-absorbing doors / double doors
  13. Location of the room: The bedroom should not be a through room.
  14. Temperature: Individually adjustable room temperature.
  15. Drinks next to the bed to avoid getting up at night.
  16. flashlight next to the bed in case you need to use the toilet at night to avoid turning on the lights.

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