Factors Affecting Sleep And Sleeping Patterns

874 Words May 6th, 2015 4 Pages
Factors that affect sleep and sleeping patterns include stress, medical conditions and medication, especially those that cause chronic pain or other discomfort (CBS News, 2015). External factors that could cause sleeping problems are the consumption of certain types of food and drinks like caffeine, the environment and the amount of light that is exposed to the person when sleeping can also greatly affect the quantity and quality of the individual’s sleep (BBC.2015). In general, these factors tend to increase the number of awakenings and limit the depth of sleep (Borsari, 2013).
One particular factor that influences a person’s sleep is the exposure to light. Exposure to light is one of the most important external factors and can cause harm directly and indirectly as it makes it difficult for people to fall asleep, and indirectly, by influencing the timing of our internal clock and thereby affecting the preferred time to sleep (Sleep Foundation, 2015).
Light influences the internal clock through specialis ed "light sensitive" cells in the retina of the eyes. These cells, which occupy the same space as the rods and cones that make vision possible, gives signals to the brain to tell whether if it is daytime or night time, and sleeping patterns are set accordingly (CBS News, 2015). Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones (shown in figure 2), body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel…
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