It’s 3am and here I am awake, again. Insomnia the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep – is surprisingly common, with some studies reporting that between 30-50 percent of people suffer from brief periods of insomnia. According to the sleep clinic website about 10 percent of adults have insomnia lasting longer than two weeks at a time, “such that it is a significant problem affecting their lives”.
The reasons for insomnia differ depending on whether it is short term or chronic. Common causes of insomnia can include:
• major stress ie from loss of job, divorce, death of loved one or moving house
• changes to your usual sleep routine ie jet lag, shift work
• hormonal changes
• illness or pain
• depression and/or anxiety
• environmental factors such as noise or feeling too hot or cold.
• allergies, asthma
• medications such as decongestants and some antidepressants
• nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol
• lack of exercise during the day
• sleep apnea
• medical conditions such as reflux, thyroid disorders, Alzheimer’s disease etc
My problem is very much one of waking in the night (which as a light sleeper doesn’t take much) and then not being able to get back to sleep. Over the years I have tried numerous therapies, yoga, herbal teas, hot baths, reading, watching tv…. My current favourite is yoga, in particular a standing forward bend. If I’m too tired to stand, I do a seated forward bend. Here Esther Ekhart displays some other poses helpful for improving sleep including downward dog.
However, one thing I learnt early was that staying in bed fretting about not being able to get back to sleep was a complete waste of a good night.
No doubt there’ll be more posts on insomnia but now am about ready to get some sleep.