In another blog post, we have covered why sleep is so important and the impact a lack of sleep can have on your mental and physical health, your general wellbeing and even your safety. But getting enough sleep isn’t always easy to achieve for everyone. In this article, we concentrate on the different causes of insomnia and what you do can about them.
One of the main contributors to poor sleep is stress. Whether this stress is caused by problems at work, financial difficulties, or worries about your family or your health, it can wreak havoc with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. You toss and turn, your thoughts going in circles about issues you really cannot do anything about, especially at this time of night.
Solution: Consider hypnotherapy to ease the effects outside events have on you. We often have not much control over what happens to us, but we have the control over how we let these outside issues affect ourselves. Learning how to deal effectively with stressful life events can be extremely beneficial to your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Your insomnia might be linked to your physical health. Many health conditions, such as heart disease, respiratory problems, urinary tract issues as well as hormonal imbalances influence your ability to go to sleep. Insomnia might be one of the first symptoms of any of these.
Solution: See your doctor and have an all-round check-up. You never know what’s lurking “under the hood”. And once your particular condition is treated, you might find that your sleep also returns to normal.
And while we’re on the subject of medicine, you might be taking certain medications that impact on your ability to sleep. These include but are not limited to some antidepressants, steroid medication, medicines to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), some medicines used to treat asthma, and some medicines for high blood pressure.
Solution: In the first instance check the side effects in the leaflet, then speak to your doctor about possibly reducing your dosage or any other suggestion they may have.
Depression, anxiety or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can heavily influence your ability to sleep.
Solution: Consider hypnotherapy to deal with these issues. Hypnotherapy works on your subconscious and can help you deal with these issues by uncovering the reasons and helping your subconscious deal with them more efficiently.
Suffering from a lack of sleep and all its effects can simply be a case of lifestyle choices. Do you drink a lot of caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, cola, etc.? Do you smoke? Are you a shift worker? Do you travel a lot with lots of flights through different time zones? All these lifestyle choices can contribute to insomnia.
Or maybe your surroundings aren’t very conducive to a good night’s sleep. It could be that your bedroom is too noisy, too bright or too hot or cold. Maybe your mattress is uncomfortable or your pillow is too hard or too soft for you. All these issues make up your sleep hygiene which can cause you to sleep badly.
A National Sleep Foundation panel concluded that adolescents need eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, yet nearly two-thirds of 17-year-olds report sleeping less than seven hours a night, according to a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2014.
Solutions: Examine your lifestyle choices and see what you can change.
- Introducing daily exercise to your routine can help to improve your sleep.
- Make sure your sleep environment is pleasant. A comfortable mattress and pillow are worth the investment, as are blackout curtains if you live near street lights. Alternative try eye shades. For noisy environments, try sleeping with ear plugs.
- Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes. A short nap will not make up for night time sleep but can contribute to improved mood and performance.
- Examine which foods give you indigestion and avoid these foods for a better night-time rest.
Have you considered a bedtime routine to beat insomnia?
It might be worth introducing a nightly bedtime routine. We do this for our children, why not introduce into your adult life? Let your body know it’s time to wind down and get ready to go to sleep by introducing an hour of quiet time before you go to bed.
- Swap your devices for a book to avoid the blue light emanating from screens. This blue light is known to interfere with your ability to go to sleep as it mimics daylight to the brain, keeping you more awake.
- Avoid stimulants such as tea or coffee close to bedtime.
- Limit alcohol intake. Even though alcohol might help you fall asleep quicker, it disturbs your sleep later at night when the alcohol starts to get processed by the body.
- Have a warm shower or bath.
- Consider meditation or mindfulness exercises, speak to your hypnotherapist for advice.
If you would like to start with a calming audio recording to help you get to sleep, why not email me and I will send you my mp3 file 3 Minute Breathing Space.
I am Samantha Culshaw-Robinson, a clinical hypnotherapist and mindfulness practitioner. I have been helping clients to improve their sleeping patterns since 2010. For a free introductory session, please contact me either via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 075 222 777 22.
If you would like to book in for a session, please fill in your contact details on my consultation page.
Disclaimer: As with most practices, mindfulness may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any existing mental health conditions or past trauma, you should discuss these with your GP or mental health professional and these should also be disclosed prior to enrolling in a class.