explore, nurture

Insomnia – again

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.

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