IT’S TIME TO RESET THE SNOOZE BUTTON – TIPS TO BEAT INSOMNIA
We understand how frustrating a lack of sleep can be. That just a single night of sleeplessness can be hard on the mind and body, never mind several nights in a row.
Adults need on average between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. However, 36% of adults in the UK have trouble falling asleep on a weekly basis. Continually getting less than the recommended amount of sleep often leads to many concerning problems including mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
So how do you beat this insomnia and get more sleep? We’re going to look at some easy ways you can beat insomnia. We’ll also talk about when it’s time to seek medical help.
What really is insomnia?
Put simply, insomnia means you regularly have issues sleeping. You find it hard to sleep, wake up several times throughout the night and often feel tired and irritable throughout the day, lacking concentration because you haven’t had enough sleep.
Causes of insomnia
There are many causes of insomnia; however, the most common causes are stress, anxiety or depression, an uncomfortable or loud environment, alcohol, caffeine or nicotine.
Poor sleep habits can also cause insomnia. This includes irregular bedtime schedules, using your bed for work, eating in bed, watching tv or playing games in bed or, simply just scrolling on your phone for hours. People often develop these habits when they are younger which makes them difficult to break as adults.
Tips to beat insomnia
Create a restful sleeping environment
Before you can get a good night’s sleep, you need to make sure that your sleeping environment is comfortable, especially if you’re currently struggling with insomnia. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled to help you get good quality sleep. And when it comes to pets, we all love them, however, if they tend to make noise during the night, you should consider having them sleep somewhere else.
Exercise and better diet
It’s no surprise that exercise improves sleep quality and even 10 minutes of aerobic activity each day can help you beat insomnia. Exercising can mean the difference between a bad, good and great night’s sleep. Exercise helps you release the endorphins that keep you up at night so when the night calls, it’s easier to wind down and feel tired more easily. Saying this, it’s also very important that you don’t work out within 3 – 4 hours of your bedtime because it allows your heart rate, body temperature and adrenaline levels to reduce. Moreover, if you want to beat insomnia, if possible, get up and exercise and move throughout the day to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Avoid blue light
Too much natural and artificial blue light can keep you awake and messes up your body's ability to fall asleep because it blocks melatonin, a hormone that makes you tired. If you want to beat insomnia, try putting away your electronic devices as soon as you start winding down, about 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Avoid smoking and cut down on caffeine
Smoking cigarettes can cause insomnia due to an ingredient called nicotine. When someone becomes addicted to nicotine, it’s possible that the cravings will become strong enough to interrupt sleep. Quitting and cutting down on cigarettes will help you beat insomnia.
Caffeine can also cause insomnia as it can cause someone to stay awake at night and lead to sleeplessness, anxiety and poor sleep quality. Avoiding caffeine before you wind down can help beat insomnia.
If you cannot sleep, get up
If you can’t sleep, there’s very little point laying there and stressing about it. Get up and do something that you find relaxing and once you start to feel tired again, then go back to bed.
Seek medical help
If taking the steps to beat your insomnia fail it may be time to seek medical help. This can help identify whether you are indeed struggling with insomnia or from another sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, sleepwalking and hypersomnia.
How London Doctors Clinic can help you get more and better sleep
If you are suffering from a sleep disorder including insomnia, you can speak to one of our GPs at any of our clinics nationwide about our virtual sleep services. At London Doctors Clinic, we have partnered with a sleep clinic so you have access to diagnostic and treatment services if you are struggling with a sleep disorder. Our GPs will arrange a referral to our partner sleep specialist and consultant Neuropsychiatrist.
Insomnia and Clinical Sleep Assessment
If you are struggling with insomnia, our Insomnia and Clinical Sleep Assessment is a comprehensive and detailed clinical assessment of your sleep that will help you develop a plan to achieve better quality sleep and beat your insomnia.
Sleep Apnea Diagnostic Assessment
However, if you think you struggle with a different sleep disorder or sleep apnea, our Sleep Apnea Diagnostic Assessment also includes a single-use, disposable, home sleep apnea test sent directly to your home to determine whether you need follow-up treatment and therapy to improve your sleep disorder. To learn more about our virtual sleep assessments, visit our webpage here.
We also offer a Virtual Wellness Screen for a more holistic view of your health including sleep diagnostics using the state-of-the-art Oura Ring. You can learn more about this by reading our previous blog on biohacking your way to a better night’s sleep here.