Oh to be able to sleep like my cat
I have suffered from sleep related problems all my life. I used to sleep walk until my early 20's and have suffered from bouts of insomnia all my life. I would get it for a few weeks or months, then it would settle down again. For the last 4/5 years it is a permanent problem, made worse in the last year by the start o hot flushes during the night that see me burning up one minute and the next shivering.
Insomnia is hell. It affects your whole life. If you have suffered the occasional sleepless night you know how you feel the next day, but you can catch up on your sleep that night. Insomniacs have that every night, they can never catch up and become more and more exhausted, which in turn can affect their health. Sleeping tablets are not the solution as they are not to be used long term and when you come off them you are back to square one.
I always wake up several times through the night, sometimes due to the overheating but not always. Sometimes I can get back to sleep, other times I am wide awake for hours. I used to be able to go to sleep o.k. but now I find it difficult to get to sleep. I dread going to bed because I know I will be waking up so this may be the cause.
I have been reading about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT I) which all sounds sensible, I am not sure if it will work for me. It can help some people, but if you have a sleep disorder it may not cure the problem. It is worth a go, it can't get any worse! So over the next two weeks I will be putting a plan in place. I know there are many of you out there who also suffer so I will let you know what works for me and what doesn't.
So this is the plan I have devised for myself.
1. Regular wake up time, even at weekends (no lying in) This is a tough one if you have not slept much during the night, but I will be setting my alarm and making sure I do not fall back to sleep. Funny how I can sleep when it is time to get up.
2. Exercise during the day, sitting in an office all day does not make you physically tired.
3. Use ear plugs, OH snores very loudly and may be waking me up without me realising.
4. Do not have the bedroom too warm or too many blankets.
5. The bedroom is only for sleeping, do not watch t.v. etc. which I don't, but have been known to surf the web, check emails on my phone/laptop in bed.
6. No caffeine for 5 hours before bed.
7. No 'blue' light for an hour before bed. Your television, computer and phone give off 'blue' light which can affect your sleep. I will look into apps you can get but in the mean time they will all be turned off an hour before I go to bed. No last minute checking messages!
8. It has also been suggested that a light box in the morning may help, they can be expensive but I will look into this.
9. This is the controversial one. Many experts advise having a set bedtime, others say go to bed when you feel tired and not before. I think this may work better for me, if I go to bed early I either lie there for hours or wake up again within the hour.
Sheer coincidence but after I had written my plan there was a feature on insomnia during Womens Hour. The tip I got from that is:-
10. If you wake and cannot get back to sleep, get up and do something that involves using your hands and eyes. He suggested a jigsaw, something that needs concentration.
You have probably heard the news about the death of three people in the sea near Newquay this weekend. My heart goes out to their families. Stay safe everyone.
Welcome to Laura, Rainbowchild and Kique Ruiz