Did you know that up to a third of the UK population suffers from insomnia? If you spend your days yawning and your nights wide awake watching the clock tick by, you’re not alone. This may be comforting, but statistics aren’t going to fix the problem. The trouble with tiredness is that it can be tough to break the cycle, and before you know it, feeling exhausted becomes the norm. If you’re an insomniac and you’re struggling to muddle through, hopefully, this guide will prove useful.
What’s keeping you awake?
The most logical place to start in the quest to tackle chronic tiredness is the cause of insomnia. Why are you wide awake at 4am when the rest of the world seems to be snoozing without a care in the world? There are so many possible causes of insomnia, but narrowing down the options can help you to start moving in the right direction. Of course, everyone is different, but here are some of the most common explanations.
Being a parent
Any parent can sympathise with the notion of surviving on minimal sleep. The reality is that the first few weeks of raising a newborn involve very little sleep at all, but life doesn’t seem to get too much easier even when children get older. There are bugs, germs and teeth to contend with and it can be difficult to get kids into a routine, even if you’ve read all the books and blogs and you have the best intentions. The role you take on when you have children can also render undisturbed sleep impossible. There’s something about having that little person in your life that makes it incredibly difficult to switch off and relax. Even when you can see a monitor or you’ve checked on your kids hundreds of times, it’s hard to let go.
Stress is one of the most common causes of insomnia. The bad news is that a lack of sleep also exacerbates tiredness, so it’s very easy to get into a vicious cycle. Stress can be caused by all kinds of things, from not having enough hours in the day and being overloaded at work to struggling with illness, money worries or relationship issues.
Any parent understands the value of a bedtime routine. The trouble is that we tend to focus so much attention on getting children into bed on time that we lose sight of our own body clocks. Although it may feel like it sometimes, sleep is not a luxury item. It’s essential for good health and wellbeing. If you find yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, or you’ve put a box set on, and you can’t stay awake, it’s likely that you’re going to bed too late. Set a bedtime and an alarm for the morning and make this your routine. Your body clock will adjust, and it should help you to ensure that you get enough sleep.
Noise and light
Sometimes, even when you’re exhausted, the children are tucked up in bed, and you feel relaxed, you still can’t get through the night unscathed due to external factors such as noise and light streaming through the curtains. It’s hugely beneficial to try and iron out any sleep barriers and create an environment, which is conducive to relaxation.
If you know what’s keeping you up, it makes finding solutions easier. There may be no miracle cure for insomnia, but there are lots of techniques you can try to improve your sleep habits.
Gearing up for bed and switching off
When you put your children to bed, you probably take the time to run them a bath, read a story and give them cuddles while they get cosy. This routine, although very simple, prepares them for sleep and they know once the taps are running, it’s nearly time for bed. Pay the same level of attention to your own routine. You need to take time to chill out and unwind before you go to bed. Don’t start work at 9pm or try and clean the house. Put your favourite TV show on, call a friend for a catch-up, read a book or have a hot bath. Just do anything that helps you to feel calm. Dim the lights in the bedroom, close the curtains and avoid watching TV or checking emails on your phone once you’re in bed.
Creating the right environment
It’s so important that you feel relaxed and comfortable in your bedroom. This room should be a haven of peace where you can escape the daily grind and forget all your troubles. Start with your bed. The average person spends eight hours per day in bed, so it’s really important to ensure that you’re comfortable. If you toss and turn or you wake up with aches and pains, it may be worth thinking about investing in a new mattress and some fresh pillows. You can read reviews to help you find top mattresses online. If you find it easy to snuggle up and settle down, but you regularly wake during the night, look into fitting blackout blinds and using earplugs. Use soft lighting and tranquil colours in your bedroom and try and make it a tech-free zone.
Dealing with stress
Stress affects us all. Often, we can overcome stress without any need for treatment, but mild stress can quickly become something more serious. If you feel stressed all the time, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor, especially if it is taking its toll on your health. Effective strategies for stress include exercise, meditation, and massage therapy, and you may also find it helpful to talk to friends or family members or to spend time doing activities you love, such as painting, drawing or writing. If self-help methods don’t work, see your doctor.
Do you feel tired all the time? Has exhausted become your default setting? If you’re running on empty, life becomes much more difficult, and it can be very hard to break the cycle. Try and focus on what’s keeping you awake and identify solutions. There’s no miracle cure for tiredness apart from sleep, but hopefully, some of these remedies will help you get some rest.
*Disclosure – Collaborative Post*