Sleep issues: how to cope with Insomnia

Insomnia is amongst the most unsettling of sleep conditions to have to deal with and can really affect how we feel, both physically and mentally.

Insomnia can be caused by both physical and mental problems so, if getting to sleep is a nightly chore, then consult with your doctor who will be able to recommend the best course of action for your particular situation.

Understanding the condition is an important step to combatting it. TEMPUR takes a look at some of the key things you need to understand about insomnia…

WHAT IS INSOMNIA?

Insomnia is the inability to sleep regularly, or even not to sleep at all. It can be hard to cope with, especially if it occurs regularly.

It can range from waking up several times in the night to not sleeping at all for the whole night, meaning you are running on empty for the next day.

Persistent insomnia can have a huge impact on your quality of life, and can lead to other health problems, such as mental health issues and mood swings.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF INSOMNIA?

There are two types of insomnia – primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.

Primary insomnia is when you experience a lack of sleep or no sleep at all – that is not directly due to another health issue that you may suffer from.

Secondary insomnia is when health problems such as arthritis or asthma make it difficult for you to sleep. In many cases, if this pain is eased, then sleep becomes easier, making it generally more straightforward to treat than primary insomnia.

Whatever type of insomnia you have, it’s often exacerbated or can even be a direct reaction to stress. Often these are big stresses, such as changing your job, moving home or experiencing grief.

More minor causes of insomnia can be things such as noise and light, or not getting your body to the right temperature for sleep.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF INSOMNIA?

The main symptom of insomnia is not sleeping.

Levels can range from on and off sleep to a whole night of not sleeping, to numerous nights in a row of no sleep at all.

This leaves you feeling sleepy for the next day and can lead to irritability and problems concentrating.

One of the main symptoms that can occur is feeling more emotionally vulnerable than usual, like the whole world is against you.

These mild feelings of depression aren’t uncommon for insomnia sufferers, as your body can’t function properly or process feelings and thoughts as it usually would.

It can leave you feeling in despair, add stress and then make the insomnia even worse.

HOW TO TACKLE INSOMNIA

There are several simple methods that can often help when getting off to sleep.

Ensure you associate your bed with sleeping and nothing else – so no reading, checking your phone or watching films.

This means your brain will identify getting comfy in bed as sleep time and prepare you for nodding off.

A hot non-caffeinated drink and a warm bath before bed can really help you unwind from the stresses of the day and get your body and mind in the right place for sleep.

Habit is also another important factor for helping with insomnia. Often, if you’ve spent too long down the pub one night or have had a long lie in on a Sunday morning, this can throw your body off more than expected. Where possible, try to keep your pre-bed routine as similar as possible every night.

However, as previously mentioned, if this is a real issue for you and affecting your daily life, then contact your doctor who can offer their expert opinion on the best steps forward.

Do you have any experience with insomnia? What were the tips and advice that helped you? Let us know below…

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