You probably don’t need to hear this, but poor sleep is bad for both mental and physical health. The consequences of even a few nights’ sleep deprivation add up quickly, and there are many ways in which rest can be disrupted, whether it’s because of chronic insomnia or waking up still exhausted. Sleep quality is tied to many factors, including stress, mood and environmental elements, like light and noise. However, there are certain health issues that can lead to insomnia or otherwise mess with your sleep. If you’ve been experiencing sleep problems for a while, it may be time to have your broader health checked out.
Illnesses can influence sleep in a number of ways, including the symptoms of the condition itself and the medication that’s used to control it. This is why it’s really important to double-check all your medications and chat with your GP if you’ve noticed that poor sleep seems to happen when you take particular drugs. Even conditions that seem completely disconnected from sleep can have interesting and damaging effects on your sleep patterns, and may provide a signal that all is not entirely well with your physical health. From chronic conditions to passing viruses, these are a few conditions that can seriously disrupt your sleep.
Asthma, and its dreaded sisters, allergies and eczema, can have a negative effect on your sleep, for two reasons. One is that having asthma means you’re at higher risk of bronchial irritation, and you may need to wake at night to cough or because your airways feel swollen and restricted.
The other reason is down to asthma medication itself. Antihistamines, which are normally used to fight the histamine reactions of the immune system, induce drowsiness when used, which can disturb your natural day-to-night circadian rhythms and make it hard to sleep.