Possible causes and risks of sleepless nights

close up photography of woman sleeping
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

A night of tossing and turning, unable to get any meaningful sleep, is no one’s idea of fun.

Apart from being frustrating, not getting enough sleep for prolonged periods of time has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health disorders.

A study of 2,000 UK adults found that the biggest causes of a restless night’s sleep include feeling stressed, worrying about money and being unable to get just the right temperature.

The research, commissioned by sofa maker DFS, found that a further 38 percent of adults suffer from poor sleep due to an uncomfortable mattress.

Meanwhile, 36 percent struggle to doze off because of their partner’s snoring.

Environmental disruptions such as traffic noise and light pollution coming through the bedroom window can also disrupt sleep.

Other reasons given for a poor night’s sleep included feeling unwell or drinking caffeinated beverages during the day.

According to the Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, while children and teenagers need even more. Getting less sleep than the necessary amount can lead to sleep deprivation.

There are three categories of sleep deprivation, which depend on how long a person has been suffering from not getting enough rest.


Acute sleep deprivation refers to a short period of less sleep, while chronic sleep deprivation is defined as “curtailed sleep that persists for three months or longer”.

Chronic sleep deficiency refers to ongoing sleep deprivation as well as poor sleep quality that occurs because of disruptions.

In the short term, not getting enough sleep can lead to slowed thinking and response time, reduced attention span, poor memory, irritability, and lack of energy.

But if a person is unable to get adequate sleep for longer, more sustained periods of time, it can create significant risks to their physical and mental health.

In the UK, a 2020 survey by YouGov, commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation, found that nearly half (48 per cent) of adults said that sleeping badly has a negative effect on their mental health.

A spokesperson for DFS said: “There are ways to get a good night’s sleep, but it seems people are out of practice with a number of habits getting in the way throughout the day.

“It’s no surprise that having a poor-quality mattress or pillow is a contributing factor to an uncomfortable sleeping pattern as well as emotional and physical factors in and around the home.”