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Understanding the Long-Term Effects of Fragmented Sleep


Waiting to fall asleep on a mattress

The long term effects of not sleeping well are not something to take lightly. You may be saying “That’s not me- I get my eight hours!” The hours that pass by on the clock are only one piece of the puzzle. Too many people are kidding themselves in regard to how much sleep they are getting. You see, research tells us that interrupted, fragmented sleep may be the same as barely any sleep at all! This is because sleep quantity isn’t the same thing as sleep quality. And since the effects of not sleeping enough or well enough are so serious, this is something you’ll certainly want to better understand.

What is sleep fragmentation?

Sleep fragmentation is defined as “many brief arousals throughout the night.” Fragmented sleep involves disruptions in sleep that completely wake you up into a stage so alert that you can recall it later the next day. People who suffer with this fractured sleep typically struggle to get back to sleep after they awake, which decreases their total time spent asleep. 

What are the effects of fragmented sleep?

Your body goes through several sleep cycles when you’re getting your shut eye, all of which are important. When your sleep is disrupted throughout the night, you don’t have the opportunity to progress through the full sleep stages to get the amount of Deep Sleep and REM that is key to the feeling of restoration.

Fragmented sleep for a period of time leads to the same outcome as long term sleep deprivation effects. The single biggest complaint is an overall decreased ability to think clearly. Our thinking becomes foggy and our capacity for decisions and judgments is then compromised. It leads to daytime fatigue, but this is only the beginning. Unrefreshing, unsatisfying sleep is more than an annoyance. This has serious health consequences associated with it, including weight gain, mood problems, and excessive sleepiness while driving and working. Sleep deprivation affects our response time and hand-eye coordination, leading to accidents and injuries. Depression and Anxiety are both closely related with waking up too frequently. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that just one night of fragmented sleep cut happiness levels by nearly one-third!

What causes fragmented sleep?

Fragmented sleep itself isn’t a sleep disorder or chronic condition. It is, however, considered a symptom of other sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea. As well, it can also be a symptom of lifestyle factors like eating a heavy meal before bed, drinking too much alcohol at night, or sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress. Think of fragmented sleep as the clue that something else is wrong. It is time to learn how to improve sleep quality so you don’t suffer from the effects listed above.

How can I improve my sleep?

Now that you know these frequent sleep disturbances can no longer continue, as your happiness and health are at stake, it is time to learn how to stop fragmented sleep. Treatment for sleep fragmentation may involve treating any underlying sleep disorders, like Sleep Apnea. If you do not have a sleep disorder, the way to sleep throughout the night will be similar to advice on how to fall asleep faster and have better sleep quality all together. Exercise improves sleep quality, which research has shown time and time again. You will also want to go to bed at the same time each night, avoid any screens in the last hour before bed, make your bedroom a space that’s comfortable, cool, dark and quiet, and avoid alcohol and caffeine too close to bed.

Remember you want a night of sleep that makes you feel refreshed in the morning. This means you’re sleeping well, not just sleeping the right amount. If you’re waking up multiple times throughout the night to roll over, you aren’t getting the amount of sleep you think you are. This is often the result of a poor, old, or just not-right-for-you mattress. You need the perfect mattress that delivers a great sleep quality for all eight hours. This is one of the best, expert-recommended quality sleep solutions there are.

That is where the experts at City Mattress can help. In our stores, you can come in and spend as much time as you need finding the perfect mattress to give you a great night of sleep. You can also speak to someone via our website chat and order a new mattress online. We want you to sleep exceptionally well, so we offer multiple convenient ways to get the new mattress you need. It is time you finally say goodbye to waking up constantly in the middle of the night!