Getting Help When You Cant Sleep
Most of the time, talking with your parents or caregiver is all you need to do to handle a sleep problem. They can help you make a relaxing bedtime routine.
But if you are having a tough time getting enough sleep, you might need extra help. That could mean talking to a counselor or psychologist about stress or sadness you might be feeling.
Some kids might have to see a doctor who specializes in sleep problems. Some hospitals have sleep labs, where patients come in overnight to be checked while sleeping to see what might be wrong.
How To Help Someone With Anxiety
- Help them feel safe: Try saying: “Right here, right now, nothing can hurt you,” or “I’m here, I’ll sit with you while you try to relax.”
- Talk them through a visualization: “Remember that time we went to the lakeshore? Think about how beautiful it was. Tell me about it.”
- Use mindful awareness: Help bring their attention to the here and now. Daramus says you can choose an object in the room, like an artwork, a pet, or a piece of chocolate, and have them examine it with as many of their senses as possible. She recommends asking them to describe what they see, what they hear, what it smells like, or what it tastes like.
- Put things in perspective: For instance, Daramus recommends asking them “How big does this problem feel right now, on a scale of one to 10? One means you’ll forget about it in a minute, and 10 is Thanos just snapped.” She says to then ask them how big the problem actually is, to help them realize it’s manageable. You can say: “I get that this issue feels huge right now. What’s a small piece of it that we could solve together right now, and we’ll worry about the next piece later?”
Important: Do your best to avoid using words like “crazy” and “insane” casually as these words can stigmatize mental health issues and may make someone going through a difficult time feel alienated.
Encourage Your Loved One To Create A Journal Of Sleep Habits
When someone has a sleep disorder, it can be a diagnosable medical condition. The more a health care provider knows about the situation, the better.
Starting a journal can be a good way to start uncovering the root causes of a sleep disorder like sleep-wake disorder. You can help your loved one or partner with this.
The journal can include the routine they participate in before bed, such as any food or drinks they may have. It can also include how long they sleep at a time, how difficult it is to wake up in the morning, and whether or not they experienced daytime sleepiness.
Other things to include in a sleep journal are:
- What time you went to bed and woke up
- A ranking of sleep quality
- How many times you awoke in the night
- How long you were awake each time you woke up
- Daily level of physical activity
- Thoughts, feelings or changes in mood
Don’t Miss: Garmin Preferred Activity Tracker
Maybe Stop Drinking Coffee
Insomniacs know their triggers, and that includes caffeine. We already know its going to make it harder to fall asleep at night if we drink coffee or anything with caffeine past a certain time. That point in the day is different for everyone, but try to refrain from coming for your insomniac friends matcha latte first thing in the morningits the only thing keeping her eyes open.
A Practical Gift For Insomniacs
Is Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson a good, practical, thoughtful gift idea for people who cant sleep? Yes!
Stevenson shares easy tips and tricks to discover the best sleep and best health of an insomniacs life. With his 14-Day Sleep Makeover, your insomniac will learn how to create the ideal sleep sanctuary, how to hack sunlight to regulate his circadian rhythms, which clinically proven sleep nutrients and supplements he needs, and stress-reduction exercises and fitness tips to keep him mentally and physically sharp.
Sleep Smarter is the ultimate guide to sleeping better, feeling refreshed, and achieving a healthier, happier life. That said, however, an insomniac who doesnt like reading may not love this gift idea. If you arent sure if this is the best gift for the insomniac in your life, you might give it with a gift that is less riskysuch as the deep sleep candle above or the Yogi Bedtime tea below. Or the Lumnio nightbook nightlight at the top of this list of gifts for people who cant sleep ).
Read Also: Sleep Apnea And Ptsd Claims
Dont Always Listen To Sleep Experts
A few of the methods we heard about might raise some eyebrows among sleep experts. Susan L. Paul, a retired nurse in Asheville, N.C., told us that when she finds herself awake in the middle of the night, she brings her laptop into bed and watches the Great British Baking Show on Netflix.
Sleep doctors typically urge people not to use computer screens in bed because they emit sleep-disrupting blue light. But Ms. Paul likes to bake, and she finds that watching her favorite baking show has a calming effect that quickly sends her back to sleep. It helps if you have seen it all at least a few times and remember the bakers as old friends, she said. Its very relaxing, and Im usually asleep again before the dough has a chance to rise a second time.
How I Cope With Insomnia
It’s about 3.20am. I know this not because I’ve checked the clock recently I just know it’s about 3.20am. Let’s add it up: went to bed at 10.30pm, read for a bit, lights out, turned over a few dozen times , moved upstairs to avoid waking my wife, meditated for half an hour , tried again, turning and turning , went to look at the sleeping children, turned the pillows over to find the cool side , put pyjamas on , turned over on to my front to try and squash myself to sleep, tried sitting up, kneeling, and in a moment of absurdity tried going to sleep standing up. So that would make it past 3am.
I fight the urge to check the clock. It always says terrible things like 03.38, or 04.29 and never 22.17. Checking the clock just amplifies the anguish: that I am awake, have been for hours and will be, quite possibly, for ever. What a fictional horror that would make: someone who has forgotten how to sleep.
The three phases of night
For the insomniac, different times of the night have different qualities. The time between 10pm and 11.30pm is the golden age that you want to hold and cherish and keep forever. This is the time that you feel nostalgic about when the clock reads 04.29. For at this time, there is still a chance that you will disappear suddenly into the void and, the next thing you know, there will be birdsong and milkmen and dawn tiptoeing into the edges of the room. Still a hope, still a chance.
A passive pursuit
Three ideas for insomniacs
Read Also: Fitbit And Sleep Apnea
Why Would You Be Anxious About That
“This response implies that they should not be anxious and their response is unjustified. By saying this, you’re positioning yourself against the person, instead of aligning with them against their anxiety,” says Romanoff.
Anxiety is a condition that often has causes beyond the person’s control. According to the National Institute of Medical Health, genetic factors, childhood trauma, and health conditions like heart arrhythmias or thyroid problems could contribute to the risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
The Four Key Elements To Cultivating Relaxation
For thousands of years, relaxation has been a central focus of spiritual and cultural practices, enabling a sense of calm and connection with oneself and the surrounding world.
Only in recent decades, though, have meditative practices for relaxation become a focus of scientific research, which has come to identify four key elements for fostering the relaxation response.
All of the following methods are ways of achieving these core elements so that you can calmly fall asleep. Keeping these basics in mind empowers you to adjust these methods to suit your preferences.
Recommended Reading: Medcline Pillow Alternatives
Dont Ask A Victim To Educate You
It can be retraumatizing for a victim of racial trauma to be asked to explain their worldview and experiences to you but, of course, there might be a time where asking questions about a persons experience is important. How you approach this is key.
I think always starting off conversations with You dont have to answer the question if you dont want to is good, Gholson said. And for a lot of people, including myself, whove experienced racial trauma, going out there yourself and doing some of the work, reading certain books, going to community meetings where theres predominantly Black people and hearing their concerns, doing that work on the front end and coming with a deeper understanding is important.
That way, you are not asking for an education. You are seeking instead to engage, showing commitment and going deeper.
For instance, I read this book, and it was really fascinating, Gholson said. It shows that youve taken the time, and youre not coming to the conversation with the perspective of What can you teach me? You do the academic and emotional labor while I just sit back and receive it.
Its impossible to know everything that might be triggering to someone whos experienced racial trauma. Learning to be a compassionate listener can help.
Regardless of what you say, it might land wrong, because things are so stressful, Gómez said. We have to have that sort of be OK.
Common Psychological And Medical Causes Of Insomnia
Sometimes, insomnia only lasts a few days and goes away on its own, especially when it is tied to an obviously temporary cause, such as stress over an upcoming presentation, a painful breakup, or jet lag. Other times, insomnia is stubbornly persistent. Chronic insomnia is usually tied to an underlying mental or physical issue.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Treating these underlying problems is essential to resolving your insomnia.
Medical problems or illness. Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, Parkinsons disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, and cancer. Chronic pain is also a common cause of insomnia.
Medications. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives. Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine , diuretics, and slimming pills.
You May Like: How Does Garmin Track Sleep
You Have To Try Calming Your Mind At Bedtime
You might not realize this, but insomnia actually causes anxiety for a lot of us. That wound-up, tight-chested feeling makes relaxing into a deep sleep totally impossible. This spiral starts us thinking that were going to spend yet another night staring at the ceiling, and it only makes that anxiety worse. Insomnia is something we feel constantlynot only at bedtimeso the telltale wide-awake energy we have at 9 p.m. makes calm feel way off in the distance.
Stress Anxiety Or Depression
You may find it difficult to switch off your anxieties about work, home or personal problems. Also, poor sleep is sometimes due to depression. Other symptoms of depression include a low mood, lethargy, poor concentration, tearfulness and persistent negative thoughts. Depression is common. Treatment of depression or anxiety often cures the poor sleep too.
Don’t Miss: Snoring Respirations Definition
Habits That Cause Insomnia And Disrupt Sleep
While treating underlying physical and mental issues is a good first step, it may not be enough to cure your insomnia. You also need to look at your daily habits. Some of the things youre doing to cope with insomnia may actually be making the problem worse.
For example, maybe youre using sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep, which disrupts sleep even more over the long-term. Or maybe you drink excessive amounts of coffee during the day, making it harder to fall asleep later. Other daytime habits that can negatively impact your ability to sleep at night include having an irregular sleep schedule, napping, eating sugary foods or heavy meals too close to bedtime, and not getting enough exercise or exercising too late in the day.
Not only can poor daytime habits contribute to insomnia, but a poor nights sleep can make these habits harder to correct, creating a vicious cycle of unrefreshing sleep:
Oftentimes, changing the habits that are reinforcing sleeplessness is enough to overcome the insomnia altogether. It may take a few days for your body to get used to the change, but once you do, youll sleep better.
If youre having trouble identifying insomnia-causing habits
Some habits are so ingrained that you may overlook them as a possible contributor to your insomnia. Maybe your Starbucks habit affects your sleep more than you realize. Or maybe youve never made the connection between that late-night glass of wine and your sleep difficulties.
What If I Still Cant Fall Asleep
If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up, go to another part of your house, and do something soothing, such as reading or listening to quiet music.
Lying awake in bed for too long can create an unhealthy mental connection between your sleeping environment and wakefulness. Instead, you want your bed to conjure thoughts and feelings conducive to sleep.
Read Also: Sleep As Android Gear S2
Stop Worrying About It
“This response is unconstructive. It implies the person suffering from anxiety is choosing this response. It places the blame on the person struggling and also suggests they can freely turn it on and off like a light switch. That’s not how anxiety works. This seemingly helpful approach turns the relational dynamic to you against them. Instead, it should be both of you against the anxiety,” says Romanoff.
People with anxiety depending on what makes them anxious can help relieve it through meditation, eating right, getting enough sleep, and more. However, trying not to think about what’s causing them anxiety isn’t a proven relief method.
What Not To Do
Insomnia is very different to occasionally having trouble sleeping on an evening. Although you may think youre helping by saying I couldnt get to sleep last night either this may only frustrate the sufferer as they may feel like you dont understand what theyre going through at all. Chronic insomnia is not simply an annoyance it is a medical disorder and should be thought of in this way.Additionally, if youre wondering why your friend or relative is experiencing insomnia as you believe their life to be relatively stress-free or even less stressful than your own life, it is important not to communicate these doubts, no one appreciates being told that their worries arent important and they may even have other things going on in their life which they are currently unwilling to talk about. If youve never experienced insomnia before you may be tempted to just tell your friend or relative to relax or not to worry. For most insomniacs this isnt possible and even the thought of going to bed can cause anxiety.
You May Like: Insomnia Cookies Menu Pdf
General Tips For Sleeping Better
The following are commonly advised to help promote sleep in people with sleep difficulties, and may be all that is necessary:
- Reduce caffeine – do not have any food, medicines, or drinks that contain caffeine or other stimulants for six hours before bedtime . Some people have found that cutting out caffeine completely through the day has helped.
- Do not smoke within six hours before bedtime.
- Do not drink alcohol within six hours before bedtime.
- Do not have a heavy meal just before bedtime .
- Do not do any strenuous exercise within four hours of bedtime .
- Body rhythms – try to get into a routine of wakefulness during the day and sleepiness at night. The body becomes used to rhythms or routines. If you keep to a pattern, you are more likely to sleep well. Therefore:
- No matter how tired you are, do not sleep or nap during the day.
- It is best to go to bed only when sleepy-tired in the late evening.
- Switch the light out as soon as you get into bed.
- Always get up at the same time each day, seven days a week, however short the time asleep. Use an alarm to help with this. Resist the temptation to lie in – even after a poor night’s sleep. Do not use weekends to catch up on sleep, as this may upset the natural body rhythm that you have got used to in the week.