How To Tackle Mild Insomnia
I love sleeping, it’s close to how much I love eating - which is a whole lot. So when I started experiencing mild insomnia, I was not one happy bunny. I’ve recently been able to tackle it and slowly managed to fall asleep earlier than before. I’m not a trained medical professional, so if you’re suffering insomnia for more than 2 weeks please seek a GP but these are the tips that have helped me.
There’s a variety of symptoms for insomnia, I was suffering with finding it difficult to sleep, not feeling refreshed when I got sleep and feeling tired/irritable during the day. This is something which is still going on, but I seemed to of found methods that ease that inability to sleep. Insomnia can come on in episodes and have no detrimental damage to the individual, for example my recently increased anxiety is the root cause of mine.
Once you can pinpoint what is causing the insomnia (although not always obvious), you can work towards self help and finding out what helps you regain some well deserved slumber. The average adult is supposed to get roughly between 7 - 9 hours per night according to the NHS, and at my worst I was getting 4 hours maximum. I have eased it, and now I’m getting around 5.2/6 hours so I’m making slow progress.
Some of the other causes for insomnia besides mental health can be stress, too much caffeine, physical health conditions like heart problems, a poor sleeping environment or medication. Because mine is connected to mental health, it started to begin an ongoing battle between balancing managing the anxiety, depression and lack of sleep. The lack of sleep made me exhausted first, then as it started to reoccur the anxiety kicked in, worrying I wouldn’t get to sleep which I didn’t. That then in turn leaded to even less hours asleep, so when it came to doing things in the day I was that exhausted and fed up, it created a breeding ground for the depression. Which ultimately at it’s worse, caused me to cancel meetings, going to uni and seeing friends.
The ways I’m tackling insomnia aren’t going to work for everybody, but they might help if you’re suffering insomnia which is specifically affected by mental health conditions.
1) Take a shower
This might seem strange, it’s 4am you’ve been wide awake since 11pm and are getting extremely restless in bed. I was surprised at how much taking a shower would help, as I assumed it would actually wake me up even more. But the simple act of having a shower actually requires a lot of energy and concentration. So once you’ve dried and in some clean clothes, it’s like a switch goes off in your head for bedtime. It worked wonders when I tried it out the other night.
2) Pamper yourself
Another thing I found soothing and aided my sleep, was pampering myself before bed. I don’t usually keep on top of painting my nails or moisturising, but I took the time to sit down and repaint my toe and finger nails. Once they we’re dry, I then moisturised my whole body and just felt really relaxed and rather luxurious. When you suffer insomnia though anxiety and depression, it’s very easy to neglect yourself, so taking that time out to treat yourself can work wonders.
3) Remove all electronics away from view
I’m sure I’ve read online how going on your phone before bed is bad for you, which in some retrospects I’m sure is true. But I’ve only ever felt the affects since I’ve been unable to sleep. In the past I used to whack Netflix on and fall asleep watching episodes of The Mighty Boosh, but nowadays I can’t just switch off instead I’m properly watching each episode. If I’m not doing that, then I’m constantly refreshing Facebook and Instagram or I’m keeping a mental note of the time. This is THE worst thing to do, again if it’s anxiety induced because the more you notice people aren’t online and the earlier it gets, the more stressed out you get. Resulting in your system going into shock almost, and keeping you up for even longer.
There are loads of different ways to sooth insomnia, and a quick Google search with bring up suggestions like listening to calming music before bed or buying black out curtains. Hopefully though the tips and tricks I’ve managed to figure out in such a short space of time, could help someone else suffering the same dilemma.
Again, if your symptoms persist then please make an appointment with your local GP or even contact NHS 111, and they will give you some advice on what to do next.