How to deal with insomnia

Having trouble sleeping? Do you struggle to say asleep for at least seven to eight hours a night? Chances are you might be suffering from what’s called "insomnia". Insomnia is simply defined as a disorder in which there is an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired.

Two types of Insomnia

  • Primary insomnia: sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem.

  • Secondary insomnia: sleep problems because of health conditions (like depression, arthritis, heartburn, etc.). Some sleep problems could be from the prescribed medication or a substance such as alcohol.

According Dr Alison Bentley, Sleep Physician and Researcher, there are immediate consequences to a lack of sleep. She says if people don’t sleep well at night they won’t function well during the day; their executive functions are affected by lack of sleep.

Lack of sleep affects:

  • Memory and concentration
  • Understanding risks
  • Thinking ability
  • You become moody and unhappy
  • Feeling sleepy during the day
  • General tiredness

How to cure insomnia

  • Sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
  • Do not take naps during the day, because naps may make you less sleepy at night.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day.
  • Get regular exercise. Try not to exercise close to bedtime, because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep.
  • Don't eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable. Be sure that it is dark, quiet and not too warm or too cold.
  • If light is a problem, try a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try earplugs, a fan, or a "white noise" machine to cover up the sounds.
  • Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep. Read a book, listen to music, or take a bath.
  • Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
  • If you can't fall asleep, and don't feel drowsy, get up and read or do something that is not overly stimulating until you feel sleepy.
  • If you find yourself lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to not focus on those worries overnight.

www.webmd.com

The YouTube video below claims to be helping millions of insomnia sufferers, from Belfast to Beijing, who are struggling to sleep. The eight-hour footage has been viewed over six million times and is now part of medical research used in several London hospitals as part of a clinical trial.

Pippa Hudson had a chat with CapeTalk listeners about cures for a sleeping disorder. Listen below:

Listen to Dr Alison Bentley talk to 702/CapeTalk presenters Africa and Azania on Weekend Breakfast about sleeping disorders:


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