What is Sleep Fragmentation?
Sleep fragmentation is one of the symptoms of sleep disorders characterized by repeated, short sleep interruptions during the night, which leads to excessive tiredness during the day.
People with fragmented sleep tend to fall asleep quickly but wake up multiple times during the night for short periods. The other symptoms of fragmented sleep include morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, difficulty in concentrating, and memory lapses.
Fragmented sleep due to situational illness (like a cough or a sore back)is called short-term sleep fragmentation and goes away after some time.
Research studies have documented a greater impact on physical and emotional health when sleep quality and quantity are poor.
How Does Genetics Influence Sleep Fragmentation Risk?
A study reported the genetic and environmental variance in sleep complaints. The proportions were as follows:
1. At 8 years: 63% genetic, 32% non-shared environment
2. At 10 years: 66% genetic, 27% nonshared environment, 7% shared environment
The study also suggests that genetics affects sleep problems more strongly during the preschool/school age (63-69%) . Certain variants in HLA-DQB1, CRY1, and other genes might influence the risk of having fragmented sleep.
CRY1 and Sleep Fragmentation
The CRY1 gene encodes a protein called flavin adenine dinucleotide-binding, a key component of circadian clock regulation.
Variations in the CRY1 gene are found to be associated with altered sleep patterns.
rs184039278 and Sleep Fragmentation
The rs184039278 is an A>C gain of function mutation located in the CRY1 gene, associated with a prolonged period of circadian molecular rhythms.
A study, Patke, Alina, et al.2017, demonstrated that both CC and AC carriers are strongly associated with late sleep times and sleep fragmentation.
Non-genetic Factors That Influence The Fragmented Sleep Risk
Some sleep-related disorders can result in fragmented sleep. A few examples are:
2. Obstructive sleep apnea
3. Sleep-maintenance insomnia
4. Restless leg syndrome
Poor sleep is also caused by lifestyle habits such as:
1. Alcohol and caffeine consumption
2. Napping for a long time in the day
3. Exercising close to bedtime
Effects of Sleep Fragmentation on Health
- Sleep fragmentation reduces the amount of sleep you get at night and leads to extreme fatigue during the day.
- It leads to a decrease in your concentration and productivity during the day.
- There is a risk of weight gain and mood-related disorders.
- It leads to increased stress and has a negative impact on your memory and cognitive function.
- Over a period of time, there is a risk of heart diseases, obesity, and diabetes.
- Behavioral problems in children are associated with sleep fragmentation.
Tips for Managing Sleep Fragmentation
You can follow these tips to have a peaceful night of sleep and avoid sleep fragmentation.
1. Tire yourself out: As fatigue accumulates throughout the day, it’ll be easier to fall asleep in the night.
2. Stay away from distractions: Switch off your phone, wear an eye mask, and shut the windows to prevent your sleep from being disturbed.
- Sleep fragmentation is characterized by repeated, short sleep interruptions during the night, which leads to excessive tiredness during the day. This has a great impact on physical and emotional health.
- The CRY1 gene encodes a protein called flavin adenine dinucleotide-binding, a key component of circadian clock regulation. The rs184039278 SNP found in this gene is associated with a prolonged period of circadian molecular rhythms, late sleep times, and sleep fragmentation.
- Snoring, OSA, RLS, and bad lifestyle habits can also lead to sleep fragmentation.
- Sleep fragmentation can lead to concentration, productivity, extreme fatigue, mood-related disorders, and other problems.
- Tiring yourself out and staying away from distractions can help avoid sleep fragmentation.