When To See Your Gp
Make an appointment to see your GP if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep and it’s affecting your daily life particularly if it has been a problem for a month or more and the above measures have not helped.
Your GP may ask you about your sleeping routines, your daily alcohol and caffeine consumption, and your general lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise.
They will also check your medical history for any illness or medication that may be contributing to your insomnia.
Your GP may suggest keeping a sleep diary for a couple of weeks to help them gain a better understanding of your sleep patterns.
Each day, make a note of things such as the time you went to bed and woke up, how long it took you to fall asleep, and the number of times you woke up during the night.
Are You Drinking Coffee Late In The Day
Why You Shouldn’t Say This: This is typically the first avenue that somoene explores when they realize that they’ve been bitten by the insomnia bug. So the odds that we’re chugging venti soy lattes at 10 p.m., and then wondering why we can’t get to sleep all night, are minimal.
What To Say Instead: “What can I do that would help you feel better right now?”
If you have no personal experience to draw on and no real knowledge of how insomnia works, don’t feel like you have to say something. Chances are, your friend has already heard a lot of input, both from experts and from people who don’t know much about insomnia. Just be there for them and understand that if they cancel social plans because they’re exhausted, they’re not just blowing you off or being lazy. Offer help instead, when you can.
Sell Your Cure To Those Who Ask For It
I appreciate your passion for what you believe in, but we are not a marketing demographic. We are people who have children, full-time jobs, and countless other things we care about. Playing to our desperation for normalcy when we are exhausted is cruel.
You may not view it this way but put yourself in our situation for a moment. Imagine coming home from your full-time job after a night of literally no sleep only to get a message via social media while cooking dinner for your family. You dont know this person directly, but a friend of a friend told them about your insomnia. Imagine getting a long scripted message about how they can fix you if you just give them a few weeks. All it will take is their custom blend of oils and a lot of money.
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What Are Common Causes Of Insomnia
There are numerous potential causes of insomnia, and in many cases, multiple factors can be involved. Poor sleep can also trigger or worsen other health conditions, creating a complex chain of cause-and-effect for insomnia.
On a holistic level, insomnia is believed to be caused by a state of hyperarousal that disrupts falling asleep or staying asleep. Hyperarousal can be both mental and physical, and it can be triggered by a range of circumstances and health issues.
How Can I Prevent Insomnia
Lifestyle changes and improvements to your bedtime routine and bedroom setup can often help you sleep better:
- Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed.
- Be physically active during the day, outside if possible.
- Cut back on caffeine, including coffee, sodas and chocolate, throughout the day and especially at night.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, including weekends.
- Put away smartphones, TVs, laptops or other screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Turn your bedroom into a dark, quiet, cool sanctuary.
- Unwind with soothing music, a good book or meditation.
You’re An Anxious Person
“No one wants to be labeled for something that causes them immense stress and pain. Branding a person based on their anxious symptoms can be detrimental to their self-concept as this sends the message that others see their anxiety as a defining characteristic,” says Romanoff.
What the research says: A small 2016 study that interviewed 17 doctors found that they prefer to avoid labeling people with anxiety, especially in the early stages of treatment, partly because of the stigma attached to the term and partly because labels can be difficult to get rid of.
Insomnia And Neurological Problems
Problems affecting the brain, including neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, have been found to be associated with an elevated risk of insomnia.
Neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimers dementia, can throw off a persons circadian rhythm and perception of daily cues that drive the sleep-wake cycle. Nighttime confusion can further worsen sleep quality.
Neurodevelopmental disorders like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can cause hyperarousal that makes it hard for people to get the sleep they need. Sleeping problems are common for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and may persist into adulthood.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How do I know if I have insomnia?
- What may be causing my insomnia?
- How do I know if Iâm getting enough good sleep?
- How can I prevent insomnia?
- Whatâs the best treatment for me?
- How can I manage my other health conditions, along with the insomnia?
- Do any of my medications put me at higher risk for insomnia? Are there alternatives that are less likely to cause insomnia?
- Where can I get help with depression, anxiety, or psychological problems?
- How can I learn to reduce stress?
- Is behavioral therapy a good option for me?
- Can sleeping pills or other medications help my insomnia? What are the benefits and side effects of the drugs? Are there any drug interactions to be aware of? Are there sleeping pills that aren’t habit forming?
- Can any complementary or alternative therapies help me?
- Should I exercise? During what time of day?
- Are there activities that I should avoid that could disturb my sleep?
- How can I make my bedroom better for sleeping?
- Should I stop or limit caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine?
- How can I get help to quit smoking?
- Will my sleep improve if I lose weight?
- Is it all right to nap during the day?
- Do I need to see a sleep doctor?
Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who Suffers From Insomnia
For me, sleep isnt something that ever happened easily. I still remember myself as a seven-year-old, staring at my Disney alarm clock on my bedside table, realising that its midnight.
As I grew older, social media, stress and screens became more prominent in my life and obviously I try to avoid these as much as I can before bedtime to help me switch off.
The cold, hard truth is that a large number of South Africans struggle to get quality sleep. This doesn’t just involve the occasional restless nightinsomnia is a sleep disorder that makes you struggle to fall asleep every night.
People like to give unsolicited advice. And even if they have the best of intentions, when you’re trying to power through the day running on empty, that’s the last thing you need.
Here are some of the things people say that can truly grind an insomniacs gears:
1. ‘Shame! Why couldnt you sleep?’
I wish I knew. I TRULY wish I knew. I did everything right I ate the right types of food to aid sleep, I avoided anything stimulating, I even did a couple of yoga stretches and read my book. I dont know!
2. ‘Have you tried XYZ? So-and-so used XYZ and that helped’
Whether its a herbal remedy, tea, warm milk, or a sleeping tablet prescribed by my doctor, chances are I have probably already tried it. Finding something to help aid falling sleep isnt that easy. Its usually trial and error, and I try to avoid medications as I dont want to suffer groggy after-effects the next day.
On a serious note
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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.
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.
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Cant You Just Take A Nap
Well, friend, in a perfect world, that would be an awesome suggestion. Here are the problems:
- Many people, including myself, have a regular workday that prevents such a thing.
- Even when Im beyond exhausted, Im not always able to fall asleep during the day.
- If I have the ability to nap, and I fall asleep, its about a 50/50 chance of waking up feeling more or less rested than when I laid down.
In other words, this is an unlikely gamble and definitely not a solution to my sleep disorder.
What Can I Do To Help
The answer might turn out to be nothing, but offering to help us sleep is so kind and generous, and we really appreciate it. You might be surprised to learn that you can help. Maybe youre the partner who takes Jenky, the rescue pit bull you adopted together, for her last walk of the night so your insomniac has more time to try to wind down. We love to see the support!
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How A Pharmacist Can Help
You can get herbal remedies from a pharmacy. However, they won’t get rid of your insomnia and they have many side effects.
Herbal remedies can often make you drowsy the next day. You might find it hard to get things done.
You shouldn’t drive the day after taking them.
It’s important to see a GP if:
- changing your sleeping habits hasn’t worked
- you’ve had trouble sleeping for months
- your insomnia is affecting your daily life in a way that makes it hard for you to cope
They could interact with other medications. Let your pharmacist know what tablets you are already taking.
We Make Our Own Health Decisions
While I will never judge someone who chooses a natural homeopathic route, do not lecture me on the dangers of choosing prescription medication over the direct sales products you are selling.
I made my decision to start certain prescription medications after a long talk with my doctor and considering the options he presented to me. Please do not assume we want to be added to your Facebook group selling supplements or oils without asking first. I am happy for anyone with insomnia when they are able to find what works for them.
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Who’s Most Likely To Develop Insomnia
While researchers are still investigating genetic risks for insomnia, both Dr Junge and Professor Drummond agreed there was a typical personality profile prone to the condition.
“Somebody who generally runs a little on the anxious side, somebody who we used to call the ‘Type A personality’ that’s really driven, always switched on, a go-go-go kind of person, somebody who ruminates a lot and has a hard time turning their thoughts off, is like more likely to develop insomnia,” Professor Drummond said.
Dr Junge said her patients were generally “very high achieving, very conscientious but also self-confessed worriers high empathy.”
In the Sleep Health Foundation survey, significantly more female respondents than male respondents reported they “often or always” worried about getting a good nights sleep and were overwhelmed by thoughts when trying to sleep .
People with insomnia were likely to be fastidious in their attempts to improve their sleep, which might include following a regimented “sleep hygiene” program of avoiding caffeine after lunch, exercising vigorously but not too close to bedtime, and less screen time at night.
While this advice often works well for the general population, Dr Junge said following a sleep hygiene program too religiously could be problematic for those with an insomnia disorder as it could instil the belief sleep is impossible without following an elaborate list of rules, and even feed anxiety.
Why Dont You Just Try To Sleep
Wow. Quality advice! Thank you. I never thought of this. Just try sleeping. Yeah, I guess that will help.
Let me just tell you, we have tried sleeping and we are trying. The point is, despite trying, we arent able to get a proper sleep. You dont stop being bald by trying to grow hair. They mustve tried. Dont you think?
My advice stop saying it!
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Sleeping Tablets Are Not Usually Advised
The main types of sleeping tablets are in a class of medicines called benzodiazepines and a class called Z drugs. To read more about why these medicines may be prescribed, see the separate leaflet called Benzodiazepines and Z Drugs.
In the past, sleeping tablets were commonly prescribed. However, they have been shown to have problems and are now not commonly prescribed.
If a sleeping tablet is prescribed, it is usually just a short course to get over a particularly bad patch.
Possible problems with sleeping tablets include:
- Drowsiness the next day. You may not be safe to drive or to operate machinery.
- Clumsiness and confusion in the night if you have to get up. For example, if you have had a sleeping tablet, you may fall over if you get up in the night to go to the toilet.
- Tolerance to sleeping tablets may develop if you take them regularly. This means that, in time, the usual dose has no effect. You then need a higher dose to help with sleep. In time, the higher dose then has no effect, and so on.
- Some people become addicted to sleeping tablets and have withdrawal symptoms if the tablets are stopped suddenly.
Herbal remedies are used by some people to help with sleep. For example, valerian.
However, research studies have shown that there is very little evidence to show that these work. Therefore, they are not recommended.
Best Ways To Deal With Insomnia Naturally
Do you find yourself lying awake on your bed with no sleep in sight? No matter how tired you are, you are still not able to get a full night of sleep. Or you find it hard to go back to sleep all night long even after a slight disturbance wakes you up in the middle of the night. Individuals who find it hard to sleep or go back to sleep are generally suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is one of the most common sleeping disorders people suffer from. If such sleep issues persist for three or more months, you may have the insomnia disorder.Insomnia is diagnosed through such symptoms of lack of sleep in addition to symptoms occurring in the daytime such as the feeling of tiredness throughout the day, display of irritability or depression and issues with concentration and memory. Causes for short-term insomnia can generally be attributed to stress or any recent traumatic event while causes for chronic insomnia disorder could range from physical ailments such as arthritis or back pain to psychological conditions such as depression or anxiety.
Insomnia is a typical problem with millions around the world dealing with it on a daily basis due to varied reasons. Though most people tend to believe it is not treatable, simple tips can help you towards that goal. Getting help is necessary if the issue persists, but the first step is to realize your condition and working on it with the natural remedies mentioned below. Below are 5 best ways to deal with insomnia naturally.
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How The Body Responds To Sleep Anxiety
As a person becomes more fixated on sleep, and anxious at the prospect of another sleepless night, the body responds to bedtime counterintuitively, by generating stress hormones rendering the person almost physically incapable of sleep and developing an association with bed as a place of stress, not rest.
“The person develops what we call conditioned arousal,” Professor Drummond said.
“As soon as they go into the bedroom and lie down in bed, that conditioned arousal kicks in and bang, their eyes open and their brain starts to go and they can’t turn it off, and all of a sudden they can’t fall asleep.
“It’s all because the bed now has become a symbol to the brain that, ‘Hey, you’re supposed to be awake and anxious and stressed out’ rather than, ‘You’re supposed to be relaxed and sleepy’.”
Veronica Bosworth has dealt with intermittent periods of insomnia since she was a child and has experienced this feeling of being “tired but wired”.
“When my insomnia was at its worst, I would get anxious before going to bed the whole opposite of what you need to be,” she said.
“I reached a stage where I was in a fugue state. I felt like I was existing. I was just pushing my body through the processes of the day as best I could, but I didn’t feel like I was living at all.”
If she woke up in the night, Ms Bosworth would frantically begin calculating the amount of time she had left to sleep.