It's a common problem. Reports suggest that over 27% of UK adults struggle to get good quality sleep every night. But even though millions of people suffer with this problem, when you struggle to sleep, night can be the loneliest place.
All sorts of things can cause poor sleep, from stress to diet. Hopefully you can start to understand your condition once you know the cause.
I have suffered from this problem for years, especially during particularly stressful or exciting periods in my life. But going from not being able to sleep to finally getting the rest you need really makes you appreciate the benefit of forty winks.
Here are my top five ways to help you sleep better
1. Tell the people you love They can be the best system of support. Having someone to talk to when you are awake in the middle of the night can soothe your mind and stop you feeling so alone. You might also find they are suffering too. Then you can help each other.
2. Tell your doctor Step away from over the counter medicines. There is a world of products out there to help sleep. But the best remedy is to talk to a medical professional who may be able to identify the root cause of the problem, and prescribe what they think will be best for you.
3. Stop worrying about it I know that there is nothing worse than lying awake in bed at night and feeling despair at your inability to sleep. Your head runs on how rubbish you are going to feel the next day, and how poorly you might do at any tasks required of you. This has to stop. Next time you lie awake, shut your eyes and lie still. This physical rest is almost as beneficial to our body as sleep, so even if you can't drift off, you are allowing yourself to recover from the day. When your mind starts to fill with doubt, remember how many times you have gone without sleep, and still been capable of your job or any other commitments. Remember that not having any sleep is not the end of the world, and you will simply feel a little tired the next day. Empty your mind, and let it wander.
4. Try white noise It may seem simple but it can work miracles. Its obvious benefit is that it blocks external noise, but it does so much more. By simply focusing your mind on the noise, it then becomes easier to silence any stressful thoughts. Different things work for different people, varying from lawnmower noise (my boyfriend uses this) to my own personal choice, rain noise. Try a few out and find which is best for you.
5. Make your perfect sleeping environment Your bed should be the focal point of your room. Keep it free from clutter and any work if you can. Make it up in the morning so it is ready to crawl into at night. Try lavender oil on your pillow, which is a natural way to calm the senses (although if you are asthmatic be careful, it can be an irritant). Test it on a cushion and see if you like the smell before committing to it. Sleep with the window open if you toss and turn, you will appreciate the warmth of the bed and won't overheat in frustration. Decorate the bed with some funky cushions, make it your own. Your bed is a friend, you've gotta' treat it well. Give to get back.