Many people, in their lives, suffer from a period of sleeplessness to certain extent. Whilst it’s important to visit a GP (general practitioner) to investigate the potential underlying problems, the condition is often triggered or exacerbated by stress or anxiety.
Gradually those suffering can begin to ‘dread’ going to bed, and feel convinced they will be unable to sleep. In order to re-establish healthy sleep patterns, it is necessary breaking the vicious cycle and switching off the fear of the condition itself.
One way of diffusing the anxiety which often accompanies a period of insomnia is changing our reaction to it. If you find you are enable to sleep, get up and find something to occupy. At best, this will help you to diffuse feelings of dread; at worst you’ll at least tick a few items off your ‘to do’ list!
When tired, it’s tempting to simply go to bed early. However, half hour of wind-down time spent reading a book or a magazine, listening to music or meditating can provide the ideal start to a restful night. Try to switch off stimulating electronic devices such as the TV, Hi-Fi or mobile phone.
Rather than being tempted to delay bedtime, try sticking to a regular routine. Establishing a pattern going to bed at a fixed time can help our bodies to accept the switch off time.
Light pollution can hamper with our bodies’ natural rhythms. If the room isn’t dark at night, try to put on a blackout blind or sleep mask. When we are in darkness, our bodies release more melatonin – a hormone which promotes sleep. Light pollution can disrupt this process so it’s important to keep the sleep environment as dark as possible.
When going to bed if you find yourself stressed, you may have developed a negative association between your sleeping environment and the insomnia. If you do wake in the night or find yourself unable to nod off, go to another room for about half hour and return to bed afterwards.
Additionally, subtle changes in the environment of sleeping room may help to counter any negative associations you may have developed: try investing in an aromatherapy pillow spray (lavender is great for relaxation), rearranging furniture settings or even sleeping on the opposite side of the bed.
Horror stories about long-term insomnia proliferate on the internet. Avoid to get drawn in, and bear in mind that most people suffer from a bout of this frustrating condition now and again. Generally people are able to restore restful nights in time.