But you aren’t alone if you are experiencing difficulties with sleeplessness – study by the Sleep Health Foundation in 2010 using 1512 people (males and females, of different ages, and from different locations in Australia) found that 20 percent of respondents had frequent difficulty falling asleep, and 35% reported frequent waking during the night.
Sleep problems are very common, but there are a few things you can do to help. Here are three:
1) Challenge myths about sleep.
Your beliefs about sleep may help you or get in the way of a fantastic night’s sleep. It’s important to rethink a few of those unhelpful beliefs, as this can create a real change in your sleep quality. We have listed some of the more common myths and the truth about these below:
Myth 1 -“I need 8 hours of sleep each night”
Eight hours is just an average. Some people can function well with less and some folks need more.
Myth 2 -“Napping is not a good idea”
Naps can actually be quite beneficial provided they are short (typically less than 20-30 minutes) and not too close to your regular sleep time.
Myth 3 -“A Great sleep is one where I sleep soundly throughout the night”
In actuality, there we typically have sleep cycles of about 90 minutes’ duration, and we can move through up to 4 stages of sleep in every cycle, which range from light sleep (even brief awakenings that we may not recall ) to deep sleep.
Myth 4 -“Successful people do not need much sleep”
You might have heard that famous people like Leonardo Da Vinci or Winston Churchill did not need much sleep. In reality, it is not as straightforward as that. Some people obviously need less sleep. Furthermore, some famous people took catnaps, while others would sleep for lengthy periods of time when the pace of work was slower.
Myth 5 -“dark circles beneath my eyes are caused by lack of sleep”
Dark rings can often be caused by food allergies or other elements.
Alcohol may help sleep onset if it is taken early in the day, but later on, as it is being processed by the body, it can actually reduce the likelihood for a person to enter the deeper, more restorative, stages of sleep.
2) Boost your”sleep hygiene”.
Engaging in healthy habits connected with your sleep can make a difference to the quality and length of your sleep. Most of these customs are common sense, but it can be helpful to brush up on them by checking the following list:
• Avoid stimulants like nicotine and caffeine close to bedtime.
• Check that the conditions for sleep are as best as you can create them. For example, make sure you are not too hot or too cold, your mattress and pillow are comfy, noise is minimised, and light is minimised.
• Try to find some (sun-safe!) Exposure to sun during waking hours. This helps to modulate the melatonin levels in your body – a significant hormone associated with the sleep cycle.
• Avoid heavy or rich foods until sleep as they can lead to heartburn which disrupts sleep.
• Try not to use electronic devices with screens on the bed. Using a device is likely to increase your cognitive or psychological levels, and boost activation due to the increased light. Furthermore, you might be weakening the association the mind makes that”bed .”
• Try to avoid naps if it’s less than 6-8 hours before your regular sleep time.
• Try to have a regular night-time routine.
• Try not to keep watching the clock if you are having trouble sleeping.
• If you aren’t asleep within what feels like 20 minutes in bed, go to another room with minimal stimulation until you feel like sleeping again.
Sleep disturbances could be associated with a range of psychological, physiological, or medical problems. There continues to be increasing awareness that sleep disturbances can be problems in their own right – in fact, the DSM-V identifies 10 sleep-wake disease groups, such as insomnia disorder, breathing-related sleep disorders, and circadian rhythm sleep-wake ailments. If you are worried about your sleep, then it’d be a fantastic idea to speak with your GP or psychologist and they can help to accurately assess your difficulties and provide you with evidence-based treatment choices.