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is when you experience frequent awakenings during your normal sleep cycle. These may be brief awakenings or longer periods of wakefulness that are accompanied by difficulty falling back to sleep. People that have fragmented sleep often report that their sleep does not feel refreshing and they wake up still feeling tired.
Other common symptoms of fragmented sleep include:
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it impacts more than just how tired you feel. An increasing number of scientific studies are showing that there is a great impact on physical and emotional health when sleep quantity or quality is poor. Blood pressure naturally varies during the sleep cycle. Interrupted sleep can prevent such normal pressure changes from occurring, and lead to increased blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. The body is less able to use insulin after fragmented sleep, which can lead to diabetes over time. Fragmented sleep can lead to increased cortisol, often regarded as a stress hormone. Increased cortisol has been shown to increase appetite and decrease the ability to burn calories. The response to stress is also amplified when sleep has been reduced or interrupted.
Fragmented sleep can be short term with an obvious cause - such as a new parent waking to care for an infant, or temporary trouble sleeping due to illness. More subtle awakenings can be caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movements, or snoring. There are also lifestyle triggers that cause poor sleep, such as caffeine and alcohol consumption, exercise too close to bedtime, and having an irregular sleep schedule. Following proper sleep hygiene can be extremely effective if you experience sleep fragmentation.
If you are looking to focus your efforts on making high-impact changes or your sleep disruptions are ongoing or have less obvious triggers, consider using EverSleep to collect sleep data at home and track progress as you implement in-app personalized coaching tips.
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