Sometimes it's more than just a bad nights' sleep.
1. You Struggle To Sleep No Matter How Tired You Are
Almost everyone has nights where they find it hard to drop off – but if you have chronic insomnia, you’ll typically find it near impossible to get to sleep, regardless of how exhausted you are, and often find yourself lying awake at night for hours at a time. If this sounds like you, make a note of how many nights a week you find you’re having problems. More than 50% of your bedtimes giving you grief? That’s an issue that needs attention.
2. You Rarely Stay Asleep
It’s not just getting to sleep that’s an issue for people with insomnia – it’s staying asleep. The NHS points out that one of the main symptoms of the condition is waking up several times during the night, or waking up early in the morning and then not being able to get back to sleep from that point. It’s important to note that we’re not just talking getting up because you need a wee or your housemates are banging around in the hallway – it’s waking up for no reason that soon becomes a cause for concern.
3. You Never Feel ‘Refreshed’
When sleep is eluding you, even just an hour or two in the land of nod can feel like bliss. The problem with insomnia, however, is that even when you do escape into a slumber, you don’t wake up feeling any better for it. Quality of sleep matters just as much as quantity, so ensure that your bedroom is a calming space where you can switch off and give yourself the best possible chance of a truly restful night – that means no screens, proper curtains, a comfortable temperature, and the best mattress and bedding you can afford.
4. You’re Suffering From Low Mood
Not only can insomnia be related to mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, it can also sometimes be triggered by stressful events, whether it’s at work, within your relationships or a blip in your physical health. This is something of a vicious cycle for insomniacs; not only do external influences keep you from getting the seven to nine hours you need, the lack of sleep can make you irritable, and affect your mood even further. In fact, researchers at Harvard University found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night reported feeling ‘angry, sad, and mentally exhausted’.
5. Your Sleep Patterns Are Negatively Affecting Your Life
If you constantly feel as though you have no energy, your emotions are spiralling and you’re finding it hard to cope day-to-day, it’s time to speak to someone in the know for help. According to the National Sleep Foundation, ‘if you feel fatigued or have low energy during the day and it gets in the way of your productivity and enjoyment of friends, family, or hobbies, that probably means you could benefit from talking to your doctor.’ There are many potential treatments for insomnia, including therapy and medication.
AND 5 SIGNS THAT YOU PROBABLY DON’T…
1. Your Sleep Problems Aren’t Long-Term
We get it: our inner drama queen screams ‘insomnia!’ at the first sign of missing our designated 11pm bedtime – but having one sleepless night in a blue moon, whilst frustrating, is well, normal. Particularly if you’re doing any of the following…
2. You’re Chain-Drinking Coffee
Caffeine is a stimulant, so over consuming it can do a huge amount of damage to your sleep regime (the same goes for alcohol and nicotine too, FYI). If you can’t function without your morning java, limit it to the morning – caffeine can influence your sleep up to 10-12 hours after drinking it, so bear that in mind when you go to boil the kettle at 4pm.
3. You’re Eating Massive Meals Before Bed
Chowing down on a massive bowl of pasta might make you feel instantly sleepy, but giving your digestion such a major workout at night can affect the quality of the sleep that you get. Instead, try a light, easy-to-process meal – protein rich foods like turkey, nuts, and fish are all recommended – and you might find you nod off a lot easier.
4. You’re Napping During The Day
Think about it – if you’re having a big daytime snooze and then can’t get to sleep that night, it’s probably because you’ve already had some of your hours earlier in the day. Whilst the odd 30 minute nap here and there won’t do you any harm, napping regularly can disturb your natural patterns and make you prone to sleepless nights.
5. You’re Using Your Phone Before You Sleep
Studies have shown that using devices before bed can totally ruin your sleep – the light from the screens keeps you alert when you should be winding down, delaying your circadian rhythm and dramatically cutting the amount of quality sleep than you get. Many sleep experts recommend keeping all screens – even TVs – out of the bedroom at all times, so quit the Netflix binges before you self-diagnose.
From Cosmo UK
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