During these unprecedented times many of us a feel anxious or stressed and one of the first things which can suffer is your sleep so it is no surprise that as most of us are going to be spending more times in doors, its important to get some tools in place to protect your sleep.
Insomnia, also known as sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder in which people have trouble sleeping. Insomnia is thought to affect about a third of people in the UK.
How much sleep you need?
Everyone needs different amounts of sleep.
On average, we need:
- adults: 7 to 9 hours
- children: 9 to 13 hours
- toddlers and babies: 12 to 17 hours
You probably do not get enough sleep if you’re constantly tired during the day.
Possible causes of insomnia
- There can be many things that contribute to insomnia. Here are just some of the potential causes.
- Environmental factors such as noise, light seeping through your blinds, an uncomfortable bed or feeling too hot or cold can all affect your ability to sleep.
- Lifestyle habits such as an irregular sleep or eating routine, eating late at night, not getting enough exercise, or exercising too late at night can make it difficult to sleep.
- Something causing you temporary stress or worry such as, financial concerns or a bereavement in the family may keep you awake.
- Having a mental health condition such as stress, anxiety or depression may cause insomnia.
- Drinking alcohol can have a significant impact on your quality of sleep. Many people see alcohol as a way to help with sleep problems; but the effect it has on your sleep can make the situation worse.
- Too much caffeine – for instance, drinking lots of tea and coffee – can keep you awake.
- Certain health conditions can make it hard to sleep. Medical
Causes of Insomnia
There are many medical conditions (some mild and others more serious) that can lead to insomnia. In some cases, a medical condition itself causes insomnia, while in other cases, symptoms of the condition cause discomfort that can make it difficult for a person to sleep.
Here are 5 things you can do to still get quality sleep at this time-
- Set an alarm. Just because you don’t have to go to the office, still set your alarm! Get up every day at your normal time and stick to routine as much as you can. Now is a time where it is tempting to spend all day in your pyjamas and have a lie in but keep your bedroom for sleeping. This is really important as if you get up late and spend too much time in bed then your natural appetite for sleep will weaken, leaving you wide awake at night-time.
- Get outside as much as you can. If you have a garden or open space nearby then try and get out every day. You need daylight for mood and for regulating your body clock. As a minimum, make sure all windows and blinds are fully open at all times during the day.
- Don’t connect your bed to stress. As you may be doing less, spending more time at home and have increased anxiety you may find yourself awake during the night. If you are awake for large periods of time it is really important that you leave the bedroom. This will help you to stop creating a connection between bed and wakefulness which leads to further poor sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet – use thick curtains, blinds, an eye mask or ear plugs and make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable.
- Relax at least 1 hour before bed – for example, take a bath or read a book
And five Don’ts
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol, tea or coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed
- Do not eat a big meal late at night
- Do not exercise at least 4 hours before bed
- Do not watch television or use devices right before going to bed – the bright light makes you more awake
- Do not nap during the day
Most of all, remember, you WILL cope with any sleep loss. It is absolutely normal at a time like this to find your sleep suffers but that is OK and over time you can improve your pattern again. For now, do what you can, manage your worries and stick to the techniques above and then wait for this all to pass.
A few natural health tips:
Soothing herbal teas – Both chamomile tea and valerian tea can be particularly useful. You can sip chamomile tea during the day for calming, soothing effects, but keep valerian for the evening
Snack before bed – Ok so no heavy meals before bed, but a little snack before bed can work wonders, as long as it’s not a chocolate bar. Dips in blood sugars during a night’s sleep may trigger your body to wake up. Have a protein-rich snack just before bed to make sure your blood sugar is balanced through the night. Blood sugar dips at night may trigger you to wake up. Oatcakes with nut butter and sliced banana is particularly beneficial. Bananas contain tryptophan – a sleep-supporting amino acid.
Magnesium –This mineral is commonly referred to as ‘nature’s relaxant’ and is especially important for the adrenals; it’s a crucial supplement if you think your disrupted sleep patterns could be due to stress.
Vitamin C – This essential nutrient is found in high amounts in the adrenal glands.
Mindfulness meditation – A routine of 10 minutes mindfulness meditation first thing in the morning and just before bed is so simple but incredibly effective at supporting overworked adrenals.
Thank you for reading. Please see an earlier post if you are a long term insomnia sufferer for more extensive information on this subject, Please do not change any way you eat or take any supplements before consulting your healthcare professional. fionawaring.com