A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Trouble sleeping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trouble sleeping. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Trouble With Sleep - Part 2

The trouble with sleepIn Part 1 of the The Trouble With Sleep I discussed the signs of a poor sleep pattern and how this can contribute to performance in everyday life. I also mentioned that I'd decided to make 2016 the year to tackle my own sleep patterns after being sleep deprived for more years than I care to remember.

In Part 2, I'll be sharing my experiences of taking the 'Wake Up Ready' campaign with Kalms.

For the past three weeks I've tried adopting a few of the lifestyle changes from the list below to make a good night's sleep that little bit less elusive...

10 things you can do to sleep better...

1. Always get up at the same time - even at the weekend.
It might seem like you need a lie-in to make up for sleep you've missed out on, but to break the cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.

2. Avoid catnaps during the day.
It'll only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.

3. Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks.
Alcohol won't help you sleep properly. If you are having trouble cutting out caffeine, set yourself a time in the day beyond which you don't have any.

4. Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles.
Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.

5. Exercise during the day.
Exercising at night will actually make you feel more awake and you'll find it harder to get to sleep.

6. Go to bed at the same time every night.
It'll help your body prepare itself for sleep.

7. Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.
No TV and no smart phones.

8. Alleviate your worries.
Try writing them down before you go to bed.

9. Try a traditional herbal remedy.
Valerian root has been used for centuries due to its natural sedative effect.

10. Don't lie there frustrated.
If you can't sleep, get up and do something (non strenuous) for a while.

Wake up ready

I have to admit to looking at the list and thinking that all the advice was pretty obvious. Didn't I know most of this stuff already? Yes, I think I probably did.

Whether or not I was actually sticking to any of the above before starting the campaign was a different matter. As I'd slept badly while my daughters were at home I felt more sleep deprived than ever and was desperate to give it a try.

During the last three weeks, I have tried to stick to the recommendations and made a few useful discoveries...

1. I already get up at the same time every day (6:30am) which means that I'm ready to go to bed at around 10pm. I try to stay off the laptop after 8pm however, like most rules, this one is sometimes broken.

2. Often when I can't go back to sleep I'm thinking about what needs to be done the following day. So instead of agonising over tasks in the early hours of the morning, I've started to write a list after dinner in the hope that this is one less thing to mull over if I wake up early.

3. Catnaps were probably the hardest habit to break, but in the interests of the campaign I've managed to resist temptation for three whole weeks. Knowing that I'm not taking a catnap to compensate for missed sleep has really helped me to focus on sleeping better at night.

4. As I've been arriving home late from work some evenings, I've forfeited my usual glass of wine and switched to hot chocolate instead.

5. I've learnt that alcohol before bedtime does not make for a restful night's sleep - not that I'm planning on giving up drinking completely.

6. I've also added an extra tip to my good sleep routine and that's to think about five good things that have happened during the day if my mind won't stop thinking about what's not gone so well.

7. I found a bottle of lavender and camomile bath oil at the back of the cupboard and add several drops to my bath water. It's a soothing way to end a hectic day and I guess this adds to the overall feeling of sleepiness.

During the last three weeks I've still had several nights of poor sleep, but each time have managed to identify a cause...

1. A late phone call with worrying news meant that I didn't have time to relax before bedtime and could not go to sleep. I got up and went downstairs to read, rather than logging onto Twitter to chat with fellow insomniac friends. After an hour, I went back to bed and decided that nothing was going to be resolved by my staying awake and being tired the following day.

2. New Year's Eve was a daft time to make a start on the 'Wake Up Ready' campaign... half a bottle of Prosecco plus staying up till 1:45am meant that sleep was fairly elusive.

To conclude, I think that adopting a few of the tips from the list has made a difference to my sleep pattern. If only I persuade my daughters to be quiet while mum's trying to sleep that would be brilliant. Does anyone have any suggestions for sharing a house with older children who seem to inhabit a different time zone to their parents?

The trouble with sleep

Do you have any other great sleeping tips you'd add to the list?

This is a collaborative post.

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Monday, 18 January 2016

The Trouble with Sleep - Part 1

The trouble with sleepI have been rubbish at sleeping for as long as I can remember. This started when I covered a lot of on call in addition to full-time hours at work.

I'd notice that my performance after a night on call would be average, which I guess was only to be expected. The night after being on duty however, I'd be too tired to go to sleep. Following an exceptionally busy on call session, the impact of sleep deprivation even a couple of days later could affect my ability to function well.

Even on nights when I wasn't working I'd anticipate the phone ringing and this would keep me awake.

I'd been on the on call rota for several years by the time my twin daughters arrived and nothing could have prepared me for the night feeds. By the time these stopped, I found myself back at work and on call again; there were days when I probably couldn't have said what day of the week it was with any conviction.

My sleep pattern has been pretty atrocious ever since. I know the science behind poor sleep and how this can affect health and performance. I have tried to resolve my sleeping problems many times... and failed.

Over the years there have been many changes to my life and now I'm lucky enough to work (mostly) from home and my daughters are all grown-up and away at university.

I've learnt that I can go to sleep reasonably well while reading a book at bedtime, it's staying asleep that's the problem. As a fairly light sleeper I'm easily woken... the cat sneaking upstairs, my daughters coming up to bed at some ungodly hour when they're at home and my husband snoring are just a few of the things that wake me up. It can take ages for me to go back to sleep again.

My other problem is waking between 3 - 4am and feeling wide awake. I'm rather fond of sneaking downstairs and logging onto Twitter to see if there are any fellow insomniacs out there. Quite often there are a few of us using the hashtag #TroubleSleeping and sharing our tales of sleep deprivation. And that's fine, apart from feeling as though I need a catnap mid-afternoon and regularly falling asleep on the sofa at around 9pm.

The trouble with sleep

So, when I was invited to write a post about sleep by Kalms Herbal Remedies, I decided that resolving my sleep issues was going to be my New Year's resolution. It might be an unusual choice, but this was something I've been wanting to do for a very long time and it felt like a fabulous start to 2016.

I was asked to keep a daily sleep and performance diary for three weeks and try to stick to the guidelines I'd been given. I started on New Year's Eve. This wasn't the most auspicious start to the 'Wake Up Ready' campaign I'd hoped for, but in evaluating my sleep problems, it did make me realise that drinking half a bottle of Prosecco before bedtime wasn't conducive to a good night's sleep.

Everyone's sleep patterns are different and the length of time we need to sleep varies from person to person - seven to nine hours is considered 'normal.' If you find yourself frequently feeling tired and lethargic during the day, you may be experiencing sleep problems.

It's estimated that one in three people in the UK suffer from poor sleep, yet a good night's sleep is essential for our health in many ways, including immunity, emotional and psychological well-being.

In terms of performance, poor sleep can contribute to:  

1. Feeling groggy and lethargic during the morning
2. Increased irritability
3. Feeling drowsy during the day
4. Forgetfulness
5. Becoming accident prone
6. Feeling the need for caffeinated or sugary drinks
7. Being unable to switch off from the problems of the day
8. Difficulty concentrating

Signs of poor sleep include: 

1. Difficulty falling asleep
2. Light or restless sleeping
3. Waking often
4. Lying awake
5. Waking early

 How many of these can you identify with?

Or, if you're one of those lucky people who sleep well, do you have any tips to share?

Wake up ready

To discover how I got on with the sleep diary, click here to read Part 2.

This is a collaborative post.

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
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