The NHS Choices website defines insomnia as:
Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning, even though you’ve had enough opportunity to sleep.
Insomnia can have lots of different causes and it’s true to say that trouble sleeping is something that happens to us all.
For me, it really started in about January or February this year and seems to be one of the side effects of my anti-depressant medication (the SSRI Citalopram). My insomnia is all about getting to sleep which can take hours.
So if you have insomnia what can you do about it? Well I don’t pretend to be an expert, but these are things that have worked for me:
- It sounds obvious, but make sure that you’ve got a comfortable bed. I actually went out and bought a new one, which has made the world of difference.
- On the same note I found it made a big difference making sure that it was both quiet enough and also neither too hot nor too cold. Interestingly for many years before my insomnia began I could only get to sleep with music on in the background. Now if there’s any noise at all then I’ll be lying awake all night!
- Practice mindfulness and/or meditation. I’ve been doing this every day for the last few months and it’s something that I’ll be covering in a future post. But if you want to know more about it I would heartily recommend a book called “Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
- See your doctor. Trouble sleeping can be, although it hasn’t been for me, a sign of some more serious illnesses so it’s important that if you notice changes in your sleep patterns or have difficulty sleeping for more than a few weeks that you talk to your doctor.
For me, insomnia has led to me being very tired and having great trouble getting out of bed and equally great trouble functioning properly on my bad days. Sleep deprivation is used as a kind of torture and I now know why!
If you’ve suffered with sleep problems it would be really interesting to know what hints and tips you have for coping – comment below if you’ve anything you’d like to share 🙂