Many people have difficulty sleeping at night. Sometimes it can become a serious problem. Although some people need less sleep others end up being chronically exhausted. There are many reasons for insomnia; sometimes it is related to anxiety and depression. Worrying at night about the events of the day is classic. Here are some tips to help beat insomnia.
1) Try to stop seeing it as a problem.
If you are lying awake thinking, 'what a nuisance I can't sleep', this might be enough to keep you awake! You end up lying awake, worrying and feeling annoyed about not being able to sleep. You can end up in a vicious cycle. Try to break it!
2) Develop a bedtime routine.
Parents do it with small children and it works a treat. Why not try it on yourself? You could have a bath and a warm milky drink at the same time each night and try to keep a constant bedtime. This trains your brain to know when to wind down. Other drinks which aid sleep include chamomile and valerian teas. These are safe, inexpensive and not habit-forming. This is unlike prescription sleeping medication such as benzodiazepines which can be addictive. There are many alternative remedies available which can help you sleep. Try your local health food shop and they may well be able to recommend a couple for you. The Bach flower remedies are very effective and do not cost too much money.
3) Noise at night.
Late night parties and dogs barking can keep you awake. This is a common cause of lack of sleep. Even if you are only occasionally woken up by noise it is often worth getting a good pair of ear plugs just in case. If you have difficulty dropping off don't risk being woken up again straight away by some idiots returning home from the pub at 1am! ZenPlugs molded ear plugs are ideal to help beat insomnia because they are excellent at blocking the noise of snoring and other racket. They are especially designed not to stick out of the ears so that when you roll over in bed they are not pulled out. Most other types of plugs such as the foam varieties do protrude. On rolling over they get knocked out of your ears by the pillow. These are best avoided for sleeping.
In summary, why not try forgetting that your insomnia is a problem? Try developing a bedtime routine and invest in a good pair of earplugs. Good luck!
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Dr Toby Bateson