How to Put Insomnia to Bed
Modern technology and a twenty-four-hour society are thought to be the main reasons for a world that rarely sleeps. As useful as that sounds, it can lead to something quite serious: insomnia. Recent studies, by health professionals, suggest that insomnia ‘poses serious health risks’ as lack of sleep increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, infections and obesity.
Surprisingly, another survey revealed that up to 30% of Brits suffer with insomnia. In fact, it is estimated that we sleep two hours less on average each night than in the 1960s and increased light caused by technological devices is the overriding reason for this.
Professor Russell Foster, at the University of Oxford, told the BBC: “We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle. What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock. And long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems.”
The news regarding the amount of Brits who suffer with insomnia is quite astonishing, so we’ve compiled a list, supported by sleep professionals, on the ways to combat sleeplessness:
A pen can be your friend
If you tend to be a bit of a worrier, or have a really busy work schedule you can’t switch off from, then make a list for the next day. Too often we lie awake at night thinking about what we have to do for the following day’s tasks. Try to set aside time every night before you go to sleep to review the following day and make plans. The aim is to avoid doing this when you’re trying to get to sleep.
Therapists often use reconditioning as part of a treatment plan for insomnia. This technique is all about the power of the mind; programming yourself to associate the bed with sleep. If you should ever find yourself lying awake at night, then move into another room until you feel tired enough to rest. This will ensure that every time you go up to the bedroom, you associate your bed with sleep.
The correct mattress
Having the correct mattress can be invaluable. For the sake of a little more money, a good mattress can improve your health, so don’t just put up with one that is too soft, hard, small or old. There are specific shops, like ourselves, that can help you understand exactly what style of bed suits you. Just like a tailored suit, you will have a bed that is just right and stands the test of time.
It is true that all types of light will stop you feeling sleepy but blue light in particular has the strongest links for keeping people up at night. All tablets, laptops, kindles, smart phones and PC’s have LED lighting that emit blue. If there is no way around using technology and you have to use your smart phone in the evening, then reduce the brightness setting and ensure that it’s at least 30cm from your eyes.
Put a sock in it
It is recommended that your bedroom temperature should be at around eighteen degrees Celsius. With some lightweight pyjamas in the summer and thicker, warmer ones in the winter, your body will remain thermally neutral at this temperature. However, if you are prone to bad circulation then beware of cold feet as they could keep you up at night. Simply warm up your feet with a pair of socks and you shouldn’t find a problem with your temperature and, in turn, hopefully your sleep.
It is clear that insomnia and sleep deprivation are on the rise here in the UK and the trend doesn’t look set to slow down. However, with the combination of different methods to combat the condition, we can all work towards getting a restful night’s sleep.
For more information from the NHS about insomnia – click here.