Why Can’t I Sleep?

Why Can't I Sleep?

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Why Can’t I Sleep? – I used to be able to …

There once was a time, many years ago, when I would sleep through the night without any problems whatsoever.  Back in 1985, I was even known to have slept through a sand storm whilst staying in a Spanish villa complete with large, wooden shutters clattering a few inches above my head.

Sadly, those days are gone …!

Why Can’t I Sleep? – The Reasons

There are many different reasons why we struggle to sleep and some people just seem to be better sleepers than others.  However, I’ve noticed that as more stress factors have crept into my life, the more my sleep is affected.  Deadlines at work preying on your mind, concerns over loved ones and thinking about money aren’t unusual and are they are all part of life’s rich tapestry.

There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning then falling asleep just as your alarm is going off.  It sets the tone for the rest of your day and tiredness just takes over unless you pump yourself up with caffeine.  This is exactly what I did when I started out with my autoimmune disease journey over 10 years ago and it’s just another added strain for your body to deal with.

Why Can’t I Sleep? – Why you should be concerned about improving your sleep

Sleep is essential for restorative purposes as your body heals itself and regenerates.  Sleep is vital for the following too: –

  1. Improved memory
  2. Helping you to live longer
  3. Curbs inflammation
  4. Lowers stress levels
  5. Helps you maintain a healthy weight
  6. Sharpens your senses so you’re less accident prone
  7. Helps stave off depression

Adults should be aiming for at least 7 hours of sleep per day although some people can, annoyingly, manage on less than that.  Either way, we should all be aiming to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning as opposed to walking zombies.

Why Can’t I Sleep? – Tips for falling asleep

  • Wind down time before bed and relax: have a bath./shower and read something that will take your mind off your worries.  Alternatively, listen to something soothing on the radio.   I’m quite into Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs as I enjoy listening to Kirsty Young’s voice and the guests’ stories distract me from focussing too much on my own worries.  You can even listed to some calming sounds such as rain falling or a camp fire crackling.  Here is a link to some free sounds; all you need to do is find out which works for you
  • Disconnect technology like laptops, phones, and tablets, as the light from their screens [often blue light] can alert the brain and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Focus on your breathing.  Yes, it’s easy to get distracted but just keep re-focussing.  It’s simple meditation and is very effective if you persevere.
  • Avoid caffeine and energy drinks in the evening as these will affect your sleep.
  • Ensure your room is dark and quiet.  If necessary, get a blackout blind [there are ones you can get with suction pads if you’re having to travel] and use earplugs.  Ever noticed how you sleep better when you’re in the middle of nowhere where it’s pitch black and there are no traffic noises?  Try to replicate that at home particularly if you have to sleep during the day.
  • Make sure your mattress is in a good condition.  If you can’t replace the whole thing then I would definitely go for a mattress topper in order to maximise your comfort and relaxation as much as possible
  • Wake up at the same time every day – even at the weekends.  This can be tough but it does set a routine for your body.  We’ve all been there when we get a holiday like Christmas.  We stay in bed too long and then we feel rubbish for the rest of the day.

Why Can’t I Sleep? – Should I take anything?

Pain can be a factor why you’re not sleeping and it certainly was for me.  In a previous article I have talked about how I have managed my knee pain using marine collagen instead of much stronger pain relief.  This has dramatically improved my sleep just by taking a natural supplement.

Dog oil is another product that is getting some rave reviews.  It sounds bizarre but it is reputed to offer tremendous pain relief.  It’s little yellow tub doesn’t look like much but I have been impressed by the feedback and have ordered some to try for £3.50!

I have also tried some herbal remedies Kalms and Nytol and whilst effective, I found they were quite costly.  When I looked at the ingredients I realised they used Valerian which is known to help relieve temporary sleep disturbance and help reduce anxiety.  Whilst this product is a natural plant product it can have side effects so please consult your doctor/pharmacist for their advice.

As I didn’t want to just ‘pay for a branded name’ I simply bought a bag of 180 Valerian tablets from a reputable supplier for just under £6.00.  The branded products cost around the £5.00 mark for between 21 and 30 tablets.  As the Americans say:  You do the math!

Basically, it’s the same product just no fancy packaging.  I have been very pleased with its effectiveness and I don’t feel groggy in the mornings either.  If you prefer a hot drink instead then there is a tea available with chamomile and lavender too or you can opt for plain, warm milk instead to get you to the land of nod.

Why Can’t I Sleep? –  Have you stopped exercising?

As a child I did a mass of exercise; swimming, dancing and lots of sport at school.  No wonder I slept the sleep of the dead.  As we get older, those activities have a tendency to fall by the wayside as work and family life starts to take over.  After a while of being in a routine, it’s quite easy to forget that exercise should be part of our daily lives.

Exercise is one of the best aids to sleep whether we like it or not.  Ever been out on a long country walk [especially with a dog!] and breathed in lungfuls of air only to experience a fantastic night’s sleep?  In a nutshell exercise helps with the quality and duration of our sleep so factor in some simple walking exercise into your day and see what happens.  I personally use the Bodyblade system which means I can exercise wherever I am and indoors.  As I mentioned, the knees aren’t what they used to be …..

I would love to hear from you with your comments and whether you have tried anything that works for you!

Here’s to life on your terms,

Rachel a.k.a The Life Hack Tutor

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Why Can't I Sleep?

Why Can’t I Sleep?

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