Is there anything more frustrating than watching the hours tick by when everyone else is snoring the night away?
While a lot of people will title one night of disturbed sleep as insomnia like they use ‘flu’ to describe the common cold, insomnia is actually a recurring scenario, so much so, you will truly know when you have it.
Symptoms include trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, the inability to find a comfortable sleeping position, failure to experience deep refreshing sleep and the tendency to wake early and not be able to get back to sleep. At best, it feels as if you have been hitting the snooze button the whole time accompanied with feeling lethargic and unrefreshed when up in the morning. As a general rule, insomniacs also find it hard to catch a sneaky mid-afternoon cat nap and often seem irritable and tired throughout the day while lacking concentration and motivation.
Generally, insomnia sufferers will experience bouts of poor quality sleep but with help or treatment it will go away and stay away or will come back for a visit alongside a change in their status quo such as increased stress or poor diet. It will also range from transient to the chronic kind depending on what may be causing it.
Insomnia is unfortunately a common problem exacerbated these days from stress and technological stress due to bedrooms filled with electrical energy from iPads, mobile phones, TVs and other modern day gadgets. This is not necessarily the cause but it doesn’t help lessen the problems. With so many people who do suffer from one level or another of Insomnia, it is not surprising that Facebook is one of the first choices of entertainment to brush off the boredom and frustration.
Insomnia however does not need to be a lifelong partnership. It is not an illness. As opposed to other sleep conditions where it is the body’s natural cycles that don’t coincide with social structures of living, insomnia is often triggered by something external such as stress and poor sleeping environments. Lifestyle is also a high contributor along with mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, grief and schizophrenia and/or physical problems like heart complaints, pain and even some medications.
Treatments for insomnia vary from natural herbal night-time remedies to ear plugs and darkened rooms. Insomniacs however, do tend to be light sleepers so the more they can do to avoid eternal influences that could shake them from slumber such as noise and light, the better.
Relaxation techniques before bed such as taking a warm bath, having a warm smoothing but decaffeinated low sugar drink or listening to some mellow bedtime music are all worth a shot. Some insomniacs find that reading (and not from an electronic device) will also help them go quickly into sleep mode. The more you can do to establish a clear bedtime ritual to train your brain into recognising that it is time to close up shop for the day, the more improved sleep quality you are likely to experience – routine is key. It is advisable to check with a GP before taking any kind of medication and in some long term cases it might
be worth considering alternatives such as hypnotherapy, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or some form of stress management therapy.
Other top tips to obtaining better quality sleep include relaxation exercises or deep breathing exercises and avoiding getting up to drink or eat (unless you woke up because of this) when you wake during the night as this can trick your body to thinking it is time to actually get up. Sometimes just simply discussing the day’s issues, any looming nerve racking situations or those niggling concerns that are playing like a broken record before getting into bed, will also help decrease those stress and anxiety levels.
Some caffeinated or high sugar drinks consumed before bed could also be the cause of your sleepless nights and while alcohol can make some sleep, it could be keeping you wide awake. Why not try swapping out the glass of red wine or after dinner coffee for a herbal tea or a warm milky drink.
It is also always top priority to check sleeping conditions and arrangements. Sleeping in a room with another person who works a night shift or snores or that overlooks a road might need to re-evaluated. Ticking clocks and lights from alarms or charging electrical devices could do with being removed along with electrical stress from the myriad of devices we have embraced into our fast paced, on-the-go lifestyles.
Quality of mattress, pillows, sheets and other sleepwear also need to be assessed. You can’t ask your body to go into a state of rest, if the result is being cold in the night or pain from poor mattress determined sleeping positions. Your pillow could be doing you more harm than good.
Do you suffer from insomnia? Let us know what you do to help combat the nightly struggle?
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