Friday, 14 March 2014

Insomnia | Counting Sheep

In a hope to find a niche so to speak for my blog, I want to get talking more about health related issues as this is something which I am really passionate about; health, fitness and well-being. I thought this would also be a great opportunity to get some further insight into other's opinions by seeing what you wonderful bloggers have to say on some of the issues I will be tackling. In this particular post I will be talking about insomnia, something I suffered with at university for quite a while during my final year. The cause? Who knows. I know this is an illness that can persist for months or it can occur in frequent bursts like it often did for me. It's not pleasant and it can totally mess with both your mind and your body.

After countless nights of trying to count sheep, taking deep breaths and finally coming to terms with the fact that I would not be sleeping that night, I decided it was time to get down to my local pharmacy. At first I was afraid to go to my doctors with such an issue. I would be laughed at I thought, but I have realised since having this illness that a lot of us take for granted how important sleep is and this is a matter we do need to be addressing more.

I was often left feeling lethargic after a sleepless night due to my insomnia which led me to napping in the day. Yes, I know I was a student so napping was technically allowed, however I wouldn't just nap for 10 minutes, this would turn into a few hours sleep which let’s face it is only really okay when you are either sick or hungover! Napping for this amount of time would only make me feel worse and saw me repeating the no sleeping cycle all over again that same night. Along with this my work at university would also take a beating. I was unable to concentrate in lectures and produce the quality of work I usually would. I put it down to stress now but at the time I would have done literally anything to just drop off to sleep like any other normal human being. The thing with insomnia is that you do feel tired and ready for bed but your mind decides to stay awake whereas your body is ready to relax. It’s such a bizarre feeling and I have had times where I have had sleep paralysis because of this. If you were wondering, this is where your mind wakes up but your body doesn't. Weird I know!

So what kind of treatments are available? Well as I said I tried everything in my path to start with (yes I did even try counting sheep). It was then that I decided I would need some sort of medical treatment and opted for calms herbal capsules which unsurprisingly failed to work. When I finally got round to visiting my doctor they were reluctant to give me any sleeping tablets as I hadn't been properly diagnosed as such, and at my age it was rare to be prescribing such medication. So back to Boots it was, this time opting for a stronger form of medication available over the pharmacy counter. 

Nytol was the solution to all me problems it seemed. Just one capsule a night an hour before sleep and I was guaranteed a good night’s sleep. However, a word of warning for anyone who buys these tablets, make sure you are very careful as I found myself starting to rely on these tablets. It was essential during my exam period that I was getting enough sleep but after this hectic period was over I found myself worrying about getting to sleep without the use of these tablets. Remember insomnia is not a lifelong illness and the excessive use of such medication is not recommended.  

Ways to avoid insomnia? Well I happen to think about everything and anything whilst lying in bed at night and this is when the stress builds up. What if my alarm doesn’t go off? What if I am late for work? I think writing a list does help but during this time whilst writing my dissertation and preparing for my exams it seemed as if no list was big enough to comply with my extremely busy schedule. It is also recommended that you avoid caffeine and eating late (generally after 8pm) as this could provide with you that extra energy that your body simply doesn't need. I am a tea addict so this was never going to go down too well for me. I now drink camomile tea which has no caffeine in and is said to aid sleep. I think this is a great way of winding down along with my lavender candle which infuses my room with wonderful soothing scents. Another classic is of course reading a book or relaxing in a hot bath...

I hope this article has helped to inspire any of you out there who have suffered or are suffering with this illness. I would love to hear what you think about some of the ideas addressed in this article and remember if you do need any further information please don’t be afraid to ask. Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. I used Calms when at university at times of stress over exams. The biggest difference is to make a peace haven of your room, lavender, calm music dolphins and lapping water sends me to sleep. Thanks for the tips Lucy


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