It can seem like a long distance run when you have sleepless nights. Preparing yourself to face the night you become more and more dispirited, knowing that for the next 8 hours you will lie in bed tossing and turning. When it is time to get up, you know you will still be feeling tired and bad tempered instead of refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
Avoiding Going to Bed
Some people even try to avoid going to bed at all and fall asleep watching TV or on the sofa. They will go to bed later and later and sleep becomes an enemy. Taking naps may take the place of a good night’s sleep and they may even fall asleep at their desk or in other inappropriate places.
How Age, Stress and Lifestyle Contribute to Insomnia
Age may play a part in our need for sleep. It is not uncommon for students and young people to ‘burn the candle at both ends’ and this pattern may continue into later life. Pressures of work and family life mean that many people are unaware that they are not having enough sleep. Symptoms such as stress and depression are often not recognised as having anything to do with lack of sleep. Irritabiity and difficulty in coping are often seen as relating to a stressed lifestyle and need to perform in a competitive society. Sleep is not high on most peoples list of needs. Many people believe that they will either catch up on missed sleep or that they have the strength and willpower to go without it.
Society and Sleep
Increases in shift work, commuting, 24 hour opening and growth in electronic entertainment mean that we can be active all day and all night. The human body was designed for sleep at night. The lights went down, the world became quiet and everything would shut down until sunrise. We live in a world where routine is no longer part of many people’s lives. Eating, working, socialising and sleeping may have irregular patterns and depend on a number of factors.
Sleep Training to Cure Insomnia
Most people are aware of the importance of nutrition and exercise for a healthy life. Newspapers and magazines are rarely without a plan on how to lose a few more pounds. Diets and fitness plans usually have sensible targets and require commitment.
Sleep is similar to diet and fitness. It is a major contributor to your health and how you feel. To achieve long term results and a return to a good nights sleep, a period of training is required. If you are on a diet you need to be prepared to change your eating habits and take more exercise and better care of yourself. The same goes for sleep. A good night’s sleep will depend on how you have lived your day. By making sure you do your best to identify anything that is hindering your sleep you will be able to start training your body and mind to look forward to the pleasure of a restful night.
How Stimulants Affect Sleep
Stimulants such as alcohol, processed and spicy foods, tobacco and drugs may all be affecting your sleep. Lack of exercise during the day, or exercising too late in the evening, may be leaving you feeling stimulated and unable to relax at bedtime. Stress at work or in the home may also prey on your mind when you want to ‘switch off’. Your bedroom may have become part office, part entertainment centre instead of an oasis of calm for a peaceful night’s sleep. It may be a battleground if you and your sleeping partner have developed different sleeping patterns or have emotional issues.
All these factors may have become part of your life and you may not be conscious of the impact they can have on your sleep. Some people only notice that they are missing out on sleep during their normal lives when they go on holiday. Feeling refreshed from a fortnight away they may fail to realise that a few good night’s sleep may be responsible for their renewed vigour.
Take a look at how much sleep you are getting and how you feel when you wake. If you are finding it hard to fall asleep and wake during the night or early in the morning you may not be getting enough sleep. If lack of sleep is leaving you facing the day drowsy and less than your best you may benefit from looking into ways to improve your sleep.