Do you find yourself waking up constantly throughout the night? Are you struggling to make it through the day because of excessive tiredness? You could be suffering from fragmented sleep.
While fragmented sleep isn’t considered a sleep disorder, it is a common symptom of other sleep disorders. Constant interruptions and wake-ups during the night disturb your natural sleep patterns, meaning you get less of the restorative deep sleep you need.
What causes sleep fragmentation?
The most common cause of sleep fragmentation is a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or narcolepsy. Chronic pain is also a common cause, as it can be difficult to sleep if you experience pain throughout the night. Feeding a young baby throughout the night and sleeping in the same room as someone who snores or sleepwalks/sleeptalks can also cause fragmented sleep.
Sleep fragmentation might also be a particular (less common) type of insomnia called sleep-maintenance insomnia. This is where a person has no trouble falling asleep, but can’t stay in a sleep state for long.
Does sleep fragmentation have any effects?
The main effect of sleep fragmentation is fatigue during the day. If you’re constantly waking up during the night, you won’t be getting the amount of deep sleep you need for your body to fully recharge and recalibrate.
Sleep fragmentation can also lead to:
- Weight gain.
- Moodiness and irritability.
- Lack of coordination and loss of concentration.
- Leg twitches and movements during sleep.
A recent study from Johns Hopkins showed that just one night of fragmented sleep can cut a person’s happiness levels by one-third.
What should I do if I’m experiencing fragmented sleep?
If you’re being frequently disturbed by fragmented sleep and you’re suffering in your waking life, then realise it’s probably a symptom of an underlying sleep disorder or issue. You can try following sleep hygiene tips to improve your sleep, as well as using Sleepezi to help calm and relax you. But the most important thing is to talk to your doctor about the underlying cause.
A proper diagnosis on what’s causing your fragmented sleep will suggest potential cures. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common technique for dealing with sleep disorders, and changing medications for your health conditions or lowering stress levels can also help.
Sleep fragmentation is common, and nothing to be afraid of. But it’s also not something you should ignore and hope goes away on its own. Speak to a health professional about your sleep fragmentation today.