Do you dread night time even though you’ve had a long day at work and sleep should be easy peezy?
Have you only recently started struggling to sleep?
Or even if you do fall asleep easily, do you find yourself awake in the middle of the night shuttling between counting the ceiling board or anxiously staring at the clock?
Do you, even after a good amount of sleep time, still feel drowsy and fatigued during the day?
This means you’re suffering from insomnia – what I like to call the sleep thief.
Insomnia is a persistent inability to fall asleep or maintain a long stretch of sleep time resulting in an unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep. Insomnia takes a toll on your energy, mood and ability to perform at your best during the day.
Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep per night, so insomnia is more than just the quantity of sleep but the quality and how you feel when you wake up.
So what could be the source of this thief of sleep?
It could either be underlying problems or simply your current daytime habits such as:
1. Stress/busy schedule/deadlines
It’s impossible to sleep when you’re anxious about that presentation you have to give tomorrow or that impending deadline for turning in a project.
2. Unconducive environment.
If you live in Lagos or any busy part of town anywhere in the world, you know that “noise” from generators, traffic, night vigils etc can be a sleep stealer?
Trying to sleep in a noisy environment, or a room that’s too cold or too hot; or with the lights on is an exercise in futility
A lot of us are on this table. Using our phones late into the night or watching late night movies or working late into the night on your laptops. The light from these devices have been known to disturb our natural circadian rhythm
4. Eating habits.
What time do you eat your last meal of the day?
What kind of meals do you take? Sugary or heavy food?
Do you take alcohol or are you a coffee addict?
Your answers to these questions are determinants to why you may be up at night when everyone else is in Dreamland.
5. Underlying mental health issues.
Sleep is a big deal. Insomnia can be a sign of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other sleep disorders like sleep apnea. It can also result in mental and emotional instability.
Most cases of insomnia do not require drugs, all you need is to practice and be consistent with your sleep hygiene such as:
1. Taking a warm shower close to bed time. It soothes your nerves and help to release some of the stress and tension of the day.
2. Ensure the environment is conducive. You might need to sleep with sound plugs, sleeping masks, install thick dark curtains, turn your fan/AC off depending on the temperature. Also make sure your bed is uncluttered and of the right quality.
3. Use your bedroom for sleep or sex only. Take out the TV or anything that can distract you from sleeping. Mark out another part of your house as a work area, so you’re not tempted to work on your PC etc. Also do not sleep with the phone by your side.
4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals close to bed time. Ensure that you have your dinner at least 2-3hours before bedtime. Also, try not to take coffee at least 6 hours before bedtime. Trust me, you won’t die.
5. Set a specific bed time and try to be consistent with it. Overtime your body records it and moves on autopilot. Also avoid naps during the day and if you must, it shouldn’t be more than 30mins.
If you’ve tried all of these and nothing is working, you may need to pay me a visit. Visit www.talkmentalhealth.com.ng/our-services/ to book a session.
Sleep is one of the best self-care you can reward yourself with.
Wishing you a pleasant night rest and sweet dreams always.