Insomnia is a very common condition and our sleep habits change dramatically throughout our lifetime. Not getting enough sleep may seem trivial, but it can have some serious and distressing consequences. Sleep deprivation can even be fatal as many road accidents cite this as a factor. But insomnia can be treated – naturally and with medication – so if you are suffering from insomnia, rest easy as you can sort this out.
Antidepressants can make you feel really tired and along with not being able to eat I was constantly exhausted. My anxiety definitely has made getting to sleep extremely difficult at times, with all the adrenaline in my body keeping me wide awake, and I’ve finally returned to getting a good amount of sleep so I thought I would share how I did it. I had already been avoiding caffeine after lunch, going to bed at the same time every night and exercising during the day but this did not help.
Examine your life
Insomnia is rarely an isolated condition – it normally is caused by something else, such as an anxiety disorder, stress or a physical illness. Whilst you can solely treat the insomnia, I recommend to treat the cause as that will have much healthier effects. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is offered on health insurance and as part of the NHS, can rewire your anxious thoughts to allow you to become more relaxed and in control of your worries. I was apprehensive to try CBT but I have found it to be extremely beneficial and not at all like it is portrayed in the media. CBT is a great option to treat your confounding condition and to end your insomnia! Or you should employ some positive coping mechanisms in your life to deal with the stress or illness you are experiencing, such as exercising or taking up a new hobby.
Sleeping if you’re really anxious
My anxiety makes me overheat which in turn makes me panic, therefore for a few weeks when I struggled with overheating as I tried to sleep I soaked a flannel in cold water and lay it on my forehead or chest. This was a good distraction and it worked to keep my cool. Sleeping with the light on, and door open, proved very useful when I felt nauseas as it meant if I needed to be sick I could easily run to the bathroom.
Have a calming evening routine
Making the effort to make your evening relaxing may not seem worth it, but at three o’clock in the morning when you have been staring at your ceiling for hours, you will regret not doing it. You might have to experiment with different things before you find what works to relax you, however, this is essential as if you’re not calm before you go to bed it will make it much harder to fall asleep. I recommend trying, for a few weeks, things along the line of meditating, body scans, praying, reading and being in a cosy environment – with candles, soft limiting and soothing music.
Keep a notebook beside your bed
Whilst I was trying to fall asleep my mind would be swarming with worries and I found writing them down acknowledged the worry and I felt better as I could deal with it in the morning. If there was something in particular I was worrying about, making a plan and how to deal with worst case scenarios always stopped me from stressing.
Reading is such a good way to wind down for the night which is possibly because you’re not looking at an LED screen. I also find if I wake up during the night and I can’t get back to sleep, that reading will help to calm my mind so I can sleep again. However, if I just lay there worrying about how tired I’m going to be tomorrow or scroll on my phone I will probably spend the full night awake. Even if you have never enjoyed reading, give it a try – this is a safe, easy and natural tip! If you have never liked reading, you may have just not found the right genre for you, so look around to see what will interest you.
Click to see some of my favourite books:
Unless sleeping during the day is part of your daily routine, like a siesta, try not to nap. Falling asleep can be very hard for people that suffer from anxiety and I find unless I’m really tired I can’t get to sleep, so if I nap during the day I will struggle with it. I make exceptions if I know I’m going out later on or if I had a really terrible sleep the night before,. Sometimes I can feel as if my eyes are about to shut because I am so exhausted, but it’s not worth passing the tiredness onto the next day.
If you have tried everything?
Go to your doctor! Your doctor might have to make changes to your medication or prescribe you sleeping tablets short term. Lack of sleep can really affect your mood, whilst it might not sound like a big deal, it is advisable to get it sorted as soon as possible.