Whether you sometimes struggle to drift off, are a serial snooze-seeker or suffer from serious insomnia, regular lack of sleep can have a heavier impact on your health and wellbeing than you might think. According to some estimates, around 90% of people who suffer from insomnia also suffer from at least one other health condition. Lack of sleep has also been linked to heart problems, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes, amongst other conditions.
It could be that your insomnia is in fact caused by an underlying health problem, so if you feel that your lack of sleep is starting to affect your wellbeing, it may be time to get checked out by your GP.
In the meantime, here are some alternative methods to help soothe you into snoozing.
Change Your Lifestyle
Making simple changes to your everyday lifestyle could have a bigger impact on your overall health than you might think. Typical habits such as overeating, getting stressed and watching screens that emit blue light (including your phone) late at night can all interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm. To wind down before bedtime, practice good sleep hygiene by eating a lighter evening meal and shutting off from all screens an hour before bed. Getting stressed in today’s manic world is inevitable, but you can introduce coping mechanisms such as deep breathing, regular exercise or meditation to lessen the frequency and intensity of episodes.
Before reaching for medication, consider the possibility of natural alternatives that have proved successful for many people. The combination of magnesium and calcium, wild lettuce supplement and valerian have all shown to boost sleep, so consider introducing these to your daily dosage – to be taken before bed. Many people also swear by essential oils and aromatherapy to boost sleep, so add a little lavender oil to your pillow to see if this could help you to drift off.
Keep a Sleep Diary
Gathering some information around your sleeping pattern can be useful to help spot patterns, triggers and potential cures for your insomnia. Start by keeping track of what time you went to bed, how many times you woke up in the night, what time you got out of bed and how many hours sleep you managed overall. Try to also make some basic notes around your diet and any notable events that took place that day. When combined, this will help you or a sleep expert further down the line to determine if any common occurrences could be causing or helping to cure your sleep struggle. There are also some great affordable sleep tracking apps available out there, such as Sleep Cycle and SleepBot.
Your Sleep Environment
A relaxing environment can work wonders for successful snoozing. Keeping the room cool, dark and quiet are all key factors, but many people overlook the integral role that furnishings and fixtures play in creating an allergy-free, heathy, tranquil space. Bedside lamps which dim gradually such as the Body Clock can help your body to unwind and switch off. A comfortable, cool, anti-allergenic mattress and pillows are also essential – not just for a good night’s sleep, but to keep you and your family safe from the respiratory and skin allergies brought on by the dust mites found in most mattresses and pillows. Sleepbear mattresses and pillows are designed to almost eliminate dust mites and are proven to reduce allergies. The Polartex®, Natural Latex and Beartex® foam layers combine to mold to your body shape whilst providing medium/firm support, relieving pain points and taking the pressure off your body – creating ultimate comfort to encourage undisturbed sleep.
The effects of therapy can be life changing and last for the long term, which is why people have been turning to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to cure insomnia for over 30 years. The term ‘cognitive’ refers to intuitive ways to help people identify, understand and manage their behaviour surrounding sleep. Modifying these behaviours and feeling towards sleep can have a huge impact, so be sure to read up on CBT and see if it sounds like it could be for you. You can then request to be referred to a specialist should you still need to visit your doctor after trying these top tips.
We hope you found this guide useful, and wish you the best of luck with future successful snoozing. Have you discovered any different tips, or tried any of the above? Comment below or tweet us at @SleepbearUK, we’d love to hear your thoughts!