Overview: The Somn sleep assessment is based on 50 years of academic sleep research. The results are summarized into 5 sleep factors. The Somn sleep factors (and sub-factors) explain that sources of problems that may be negatively impacting your sleep, and are:
- Mind: anxiety, stress, negative mood
- Body: apnea & snoring, restless leg syndrome, pain / physical discomfort, menopause
- Routine: bedtime, goals / habits, activity
- Social: children, work & school, bed partner, pets
- Environment: noise, light, interior layout
Somn Sleep Factor: Mind
Anxieties • Worries • Feelings
The mind is a powerful element when it comes to the quality of our sleep and a difficult day can keep us awake regardless of physical exhaustion. Stress, anxiety and negative thoughts have been shown to not only minimize the amount of sleep we get each night, but they can also reduce the quality of those hours while increasing the risk of insomnia. An anxious or depressed person who can’t sleep because of these symptoms can easily get locked into a vicious cycle that causes more sleeplessness, which in turn worsens their mental state. Studies have found that the inability to reduce external distractions can affect sleep already mired by negative moods.
Somn Sleep Factor: Body
Biology • Discomfort • Physiology
While the mind can be a powerful deterrent in the quality of sleep one gets, the body, its demands, ongoing changes and, general discomfort can be as equally prohibitive. Sleep needs change as we age and go through major life events like pregnancy, menopause, and illness. Some discomfort may be temporary while others could be lifelong. No matter where we are in life or where our health stands, we all need to be comfortable and physically nourished to fall – and stay – asleep.
There are many physical aspects that can impact sleep – from something as simple as needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night to an ongoing condition, like Restless Leg Syndrome. According to the Cleveland Clinic, Restless Leg Syndrome is present during the day but the urge to move may worsen or only happen in the evening. Individuals that experience this sensation can feel tired during the day and then unable to sleep at night. Similarly, more than 18 million Americans have Sleep Apnea, another nighttime condition that often involves heavy snoring and impaired breathing at night, ultimately diminishing both the quantity and quality of sleep.
The inability to sleep reduces the body’s ability to rest and recover, which leads to more pain as your body has less downtime to heal. When the Body is a sleep factor it’s important to remember that it can be remedied. We don’t have to live with discomfort. And, our sleep doesn’t have to suffer because of it. If the body has recently started interfering with your sleep, explore the articles below for advice. And, if the body has been a sleep issue for a while, reach out to your doctor to get the support you need to feel better and sleep better.
Somn Sleep Factor: Routine
Personal Habits • Behaviors • Choices
However unwieldy our day-to-day may be, we all have routines we follow from morning to night. The question is: Do they support or hinder sleep? One easy way to answer this question is to keep a sleep journal. This tool helps you track your daily habits and uncover which ones lead to good sleep and poor sleep.
Now, if you want to make a specific improvement in your sleep routine (such as waking up earlier), try taking incremental steps. For example, aim to wake up 15 minutes earlier instead of 2 hours earlier – and then progressively wake up earlier and earlier over time until you reach your goal. Change isn’t always simple but you can set yourself up for success by easing into a new routine – just like you do on vacation.
Somn Sleep Factor: Social
External Pressures • Obligations • Relationships
Regardless if it’s an important project at work with a quickly approaching deadline, a sick child, an upcoming social event, daily responsibilities can interfere with sleep. External influences and obligations to work, family, friends, and even pets, are at the heart of the Social sleep factor. Though we may want better sleep, it may not be possible with the responsibilities we have in every aspect of our lives. So, if you tend to prioritize those responsibilities over your sleep (and let’s face, we all have at one point or another), then Social is likely a sleep factor for you.
You don’t need to sacrifice sleep to be a great leader, a star student, or an amazing parent and friend. In fact, studies have found that sleep is fundamental to success at work and at home. Consistent, quality sleep aids in concentration and decision-making (two things we all need when we’re on the clock). It also helps us be more empathetic and even-keeled, which comes in handy when we’re back at home or out with friends.
Somn Sleep Factor: Environment
Noise • Light • Interior Layout
Sleep is affected by many external forces, including the space around us. In fact, our sleep environment often triggers biological functions that help us fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up. Whether it’s the bedroom at home, a family member’s guest room, or a cabin at a rural getaway – our environment affects our sleep.
Many studies have shown just how much our environment affects our rest. In 2017, researchers found that a few days of camping (and avoiding artificial light) helps tune our bodies to a more natural circadian rhythm. Another study found that bedroom temperature impacts sleep quality even more than noise. And, in Somn’s own research, we saw that the frequency of nightmares correlates with uncomfortable beds.
There are many simple things you can do to make your environment more sleep-friendly. Start by trying to make the space cool and dark. If it’s too costly to run the A/C, try a cooling mattress pad. If you don’t want spend on black out curtains, just get an eye mask. There are solutions out there for every budget and every lifestyle.