Sleep problems - Insomnia Return to Health Sites page
I recently saw statistics about the percentage of people who have difficulty sleeping. It is a very common problem and one which must have an impact on the health (and productivity) of the nation. This is particularly difficult when it is warm and humid but the pandemic has probably made things worse for most people
I am no expert in this field but certainly have some experience!
My problem has not been lying awake worrying about things but rather, lying awake thinking. It is a very bad habit ! Someone asked me what I think about and my answer was “You name it, I can think it”. So, it may be jobs I must remember to do in the morning or I might be composing a reply to a letter or thinking how I would phrase an article like this on my website. Whatever it is, THAT is what keeps me awake and the sooner I can stop thinking the sooner I get to sleep.
Of course, that is the basis of the old technique of counting sheep. Taking your mind of interesting things and trying to concentrate on something very boring, even like silently repeating a nursery rhyme !
So, for me, that is the best way... just as long as I can discipline my mind long enough to stay away from thinking.
What about pills ? Years ago, when I was working, I decided to ask the doctor for something. I am not sure, now, what drug it was but it worked. I probably took them in the middle of the night so the effect was still apparent in the morning when I woke. I had an appointment to interview someone in a school about 30 miles away. Normally I would have been concerned to get there early. On that occasion I could not have cared less what time I arrived ! That was the last time I took sleeping pills. I must admit that I do take a pill quite often. It is just a Paracetemol. I am told that they are not addictive nor have any awful side effects. But they seem to work for me. I used to take just a half a tablet but lately I have upped it to a whole one. I do have another tablet by my bedside in case that doesn’t work. They take about a half hour to activate. I think they reduce the silly little aches and itches that old men suffer, which contribute to my being awake, shifting and scratching.
My technique is to lie on my back and breathe ‘deliberately’ with measured breaths. I also sometimes practice what I am told is a Yoga method. I relax each part of my body in turn. I start with one foot and work up one side, along one arm, back over the shoulder and down the other side. Very boring. That is the object of this. While I am concentrating on relaxing my ankle or my hand I am not thinking about what I should say in this article.
If I cannot get things out of my mind and worry that I might not remember things in the morning I sometimes get up and make quick notes rather than repeatedly thinking “I must remember to do that tomorrow”.
Of course there are prescription pills but they only disguise the problem and one can become dependent on them.
See what the NHS has to say
it suggests to see you doctor if it is seriously bothering you. The doctor may suggest Cognitive Therapy but the site also suggests:
I hope some of the above helps and you have sweet dreams