Updated: Oct 11
Insomnia and sleep disorders are a prevalent condition that can greatly affect an individual's life quality. They involve challenges with initiating sleep, maintaining it, or experiencing rejuvenating sleep. Consequently, this can result in feelings of fatigue, edginess, and challenges with maintaining focus throughout the day. Several factors can contribute to this condition, such as heightened stress levels, feelings of unease, low moods, bodily discomfort, and specific medicines.
How serious is Insomnia in UK adults?
Difficulty sleeping is a major concern for many adults living in the United Kingdom. A study undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation found that roughly one out of every three adults in the UK encounters challenges with sleep at least a few times per week.
While sleep disruption can sometimes be a temporary issue that resolves itself, it also has the potential to become a persistent condition. Prolonged sleep troubles can significantly influence an individual's quality of life, leading to feelings of weariness, edginess, difficulties in sustaining focus, and increased susceptibility to accidents. Furthermore, it can contribute to both physical and psychological well-being complications, including an escalated vulnerability to conditions such as depression, unease, and even cardiovascular disorders.
Seeking proper guidance and treatment is crucial for those grappling with sleep disorders, as it aids in rectifying sleep patterns and diminishing the adverse effect on overall health and wellness.
Here are just some of the reasons why some people don't get enough sleep.
Tension and unease: Emotional strain and unease can contribute to sleep difficulties, encompassing challenges in initiating or maintaining sleep.
Work and Study commitments: Prolonged work hours or demanding study routines can impede sufficient sleep.
Technology: The use of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops has the potential to disturb sleep cycles and hinder the onset of sleep.
Suboptimal sleep practices: Unfavorable sleep routines, like erratic sleep timings or an uncomfortable sleep setting, can impede the acquisition of adequate sleep.
Illnesses: Specific medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or persistent pain or discomfort, can disrupt sleep patterns.
Medications: Several medicines, including stimulants or antidepressants, have the potential to interupt sleep patterns.
Influence of alcohol and caffeine: Excessive consumption of alcohol or before bedtime can influence and disrupt sleep.
Effects of aging: As we get older, we might undergo changes in our sleep rhythms, which could lead to difficulty sleeping.
Pregnancy: Being pregnant can cause sleep problems because of physical uneasiness and shifts in hormonal levels.
Shift Work: Night shifts can disturb natural sleep cycles and hinder the fulfillment of sufficient sleep.
Sleep Apnea under the spotlight: Sleep apnea, a sleep-related ailment typified by intervals of shallow breaths or pauses in breathing during sleep, becomes a notable concern.
More on this further down.
So, what can we do to improve our sleep?
One strategy to enhance sleep routines for individuals grappling with sleep issues involves the use of a regular sleep timetable. This entails keeping to a consistent sleep schedule, including uniform bedtimes and wake-up times throughout the entire week, including weekends. Additionally, applying a calming pre-sleep regime can prove beneficial. Such actions may involve taking a soothing warm bath, reading, or engaging in relaxation approaches like deliberate breathing exercises or meditation.
Does medication work for insomnia and can you become dependent on it?
Medication can be viable to address sleep problems, especially in the immediate period.
Various categories of medications are frequently prescribed to manage sleep issues, including benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines, and melatonin activators. These medicines work by inducing a state of relaxation in the body and mind, thus facilitating the process of falling asleep.
Nevertheless, while medications might yield favorable results in the short run by enhancing sleep patterns, they might not eb a sustainable remedy for prolonged sleep problems. In specific instances, individuals might develop a reliance on these medications and could encounter withdrawal symptoms when stopping them.
Furthermore, prolonged use of insomnia medications might result in unwanted outcomes, such as sensations of lightheadedness, drowsiness and impaired cognitive capabilities. Due to these considerations, the recommendation typically entails the use of medications for sleep disturbances only as a temporary measure, with preference given to exploring alternative approaches like lifestyle modifications and behavioral therapies as primary treatments. In cases where medication is deemed necessary, close collaboration with a healthcare professional becomes imperative to identify the most suitable option and to diligently oversee any potential side effects.
Self-Hypnosis and Meditation.
Beyond changes to daily habits, there are various strategies that may help to improve sleep patterns. One method is the practice of self-hypnosis, where individuals enter a state of profound relaxation through guided imagery and suggestion. Particularly advantageous for those suffering with insomnia caused by stress or anxiety, self-hypnosis can aid in calming the mind and encouraging relaxation. If you would like to try this technique take a look at our downloadable session designed for insomnia and sleep issues it includes a free session for relaxation during the day.
Meditation is an additional avenue to try. While there are many variants of meditation, they all necessitate concentrating the mind on a specific object, notion, or action to attain a state of calmness. Studies have emphasized the potential of meditation to reduce stress and improve sleep quality, making it a viable tool for individuals dealing with insomnia. We have a Meditation session for Insomnia if you want to try it out.
Please be aware that using self-hypnosis and meditation should not be perceived as an alternative to professional medical intervention for insomnia. If you find yourself grappling with persistent sleep challenges, it's imperative to talk to a healthcare professional. This step is essential in finding the root cause of your sleep issues and identifying the right path of action for treatment.
How does using electronics such as smart phones at bedtime cause sleep problems?
The use of electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, close to bedtime has the potential to disturb sleep rhythms and hinder the onset of sleep due to several factors:
Blue light emission: The screens of these devices emit blue light, known for its capability to suppress the secretion of melatonin, a pivotal hormone in sleep regulation. Exposure to blue light during nocturnal hours can interfere with the body's inherent sleep-wake cycle, rendering the process of falling asleep more challenging.
Stimulating content: Electronic devices provide access to stimulating content, including social media, games, or news updates. This content can keep the brain in an active state, hampering relaxation and the ability to get to sleep.
Notifications impact: Electronic devices are equipped to give notifications that can impede sleep by disrupting the sleep environment. These notifications can abruptly intrude on the setting conducive to sleep, prompting the brain to enter a state of alertness and wakefulness.
Sleep ambiance disturbance: The use of electronic devices in the sleeping area can distort the sleep environment by introducing excessive light or noise, thus posing obstructions to the process of falling asleep.
To foster a healthful sleep routine, it is advisable to establish sound sleep practices and avoid the use of electronic devices at bedtime.
Alcohol and Insomnia.
Alcohol, serving as a relaxant, has the capacity to induce relaxation and help the process of falling asleep. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that alcohol can also disturb sleep cycles and pave the way for insomnia.
When alcohol is consumed before sleep, it can create a reliance, where the body needs it to initiate sleep. This dependence can result in difficulties with sleep in the absence of alcohol use.
Furthermore, alcohol has the ability to disrupt the body's inherent sleep-wake rhythm. It can contribute to waking during the night or hinder the attainment of deep sleep stages, resulting in sensations of weariness and sluggishness when waking up.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause more severe sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea, characterized by temporary stopping of breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to recurrent waking up during the night and can contribute to other health issues like high blood pressure and heart problems
All things considered, it is generally recommended to avoid alcohol consumption at bedtime, particularly when struggling with insomnia.
Sleep apnea is a sleep condition distinguished by instances of temporary halts in breathing while asleep. These breaks can persist for varying durations, ranging from a few seconds to minutes, and can manifest frequently, even exceeding 30 times within an hour. This condition holds substantial health implications, primarily due to its potential to disturb sleep continuity and diminish the body's oxygen saturation levels.
There are three types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a physical blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is caused by a failure of the brain to transmit the proper signals to the muscles to initiate breathing.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, is a combination of the other two types.
Several factors can heighten the susceptibility to sleep apnea, including factors such as excessive body weight, a substantial neck circumference, tobacco usage, and a family history of the condition.
Indications of sleep apnea might involve loud snoring, recurrent waking up to go for a pee, and sensations of weariness or lethargy during the day.
Other options include the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which entails a mechanism supplying air pressure via a mask to maintain an open airway. Surgical procedures are also available, aiming to eliminate excessive tissue in the throat or rectify structural anomalies causing blockages.
Should you desire more information, please do not hesitate to ask. about CPAP HERE
It is important to see a doctor if you think you might have sleep apnea. The disorder can be diagnosed through a sleep study, and treatment can help improve your sleep, increase your energy levels, and reduce your risk of other health problems.
In conclusion, sleep disruption stands as a common condition that has the potential to influence an individual's quality of life. Establishing regular sleep patterns and the use of calming pre-sleep rituals emerge as constructive strategies in fostering improved sleep routines.
I am Sharon Shinwell a UK qualified clinical hypnotherapist. I have now retired from my face-to-face hypnotherapy practice. However, I am able to continue to help individuals through my range of downloadable Self-Hypnosis sessions that address a variety of issues. With my extensive knowledge and experience in the field of hypnotherapy, I am able to provide effective solutions for those seeking to improve their mental and emotional well-being.
Here To Listen Ltd is the parent company of Self Hypnosis UK.
To access any of our downloadable Self-Hypnosis sessions. CLICK HERE
"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."