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Insomnia: what it is, what it can cause and ways to support yourself




Insomnia goes beyond just the occasional restless night. It's persistently finding it challenging to fall asleep, remain asleep, or have restorative sleep. As such, this can significantly impact an individual’s daily functioning, impairing behavioural, educational, academic, occupational, social, or other important areas of functioning.

 

Types of insomnia include:


·      Acute Insomnia: A short episode of sleep difficulties, often triggered by stressful life events. It lasts for less than three months, and the symptoms may reduce on their own. However, it can be persistent and lead to chronic insomnia.

 

·      Chronic Insomnia: A long-term pattern of sleeping difficulties that persists for at least three nights a week for three months or longer. Factors that may contribute to chronic insomnia include stressful life events, mental health disorders, medical conditions or medications, poor sleep hygiene or inconsistent sleep schedules, persistent nightmares, and other sleep disorders.

 

The consequences of insomnia extend beyond feeling fatigued the next day. Some of the issues that prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to include:

 

·      Impaired memory and cognitive function.

·      Changes in mood, including depression.

·      Weakened immune system.

·      Increased risk of accidents and injuries.

·      Chronic health conditions.

 

If you are struggling to sleep, there are several ways to look after yourself and improve sleep quality. Some of these include:

 

·      Create a consistent sleep schedule: Regulate your body’s internal clock by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including on weekends.


·      Implement a calming bedtime routine: Before going to sleep, engage in relaxing activities to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. This may include listening to a sleep meditation, reading or practicing deep breathing.


·      Enhance your sleep environment: Create an environment that will help you to get a good night’s sleep. For example, this may include using blackout curtains, wearing an eye mask, or investing in a comfortable mattress and pillows. It’s important to find what works best for you.


·      Reduce stimulants: Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol, particularly before going to sleep, as stimulants can disrupt sleep patterns.


·      Seek professional support: If you are still unable to get a good night’s rest despite self-care efforts, consider seeing a healthcare professional to explore other ways to help manage.

 

Many people experience insomnia worldwide. By learning about it and the ways to improve sleep quality, you can start to feel more in control of your sleep and the best ways to support yourself. Overall, getting a good night’s sleep is a necessity for our health and wellbeing, not a luxury. It’s important to make sleep a priority and get support if required. Overall, the most important thing to remember is that you know yourself best, including what does and does not work for you. Taking the time to explore support options and trying different methods to improve your sleep quality is the first step to empowering yourself and creating positive life changes.

 

Wherever you are on your mental health journey, our team at Nurtured Thoughts Psychology are always here to help. Our team of clinicians have extensive experience supporting individuals with a wide range of mental health challenges, providing tailor-made treatment plans and strategies to meet their unique needs. At Nurtured Thoughts Psychology, you will be supported each step of the way. Please feel free to get in touch or book an appointment here. We look forward to welcoming and supporting you at the practice. 


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