What Is Insomnia?

What Is Insomnia?

Have you ever had long periods where you find it difficult to get to sleep? Are you often up late at night counting down the hours until you have to get up? You may be wondering if you have insomnia, but just what is insomnia and how do you overcome this common sleep disorder?

What is it?

Insomnia is a common sleep condition that causes the sufferer to experience difficulty in falling asleep or even staying asleep. People with insomnia tend to have difficulty falling asleep (onset), staying asleep (maintenance), and/or they wake up too early in the morning. Sufferers can experience sleeplessness even when there are ideal conditions for falling asleep and when they are not disturbed1.

What are the symptoms?

  • Feeling as if sleep was unrefreshing.
  • Experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • General lack of energy.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Mood and behaviour disturbances such as irritability, aggression, and impulsive behaviours.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Decreased performance at work or school.
  • Troubles in personal and professional relationships.
  • Decreased quality of life.
  • Depression2.

How long will it last?

Insomnia is characterized based on the length of time the sufferer experiences sleeplessness.

 Acute insomnia

This often happens because of life circumstances such as bad news, external stressors, anxiety or depression. Many people may have experienced this type of sleep disruption and will find that it tends to resolve without any treatment required.

Chronic insomnia

This is categorised by disrupted sleep that happens at least three nights a week and lasts for at least three months. There are many causes for experiencing chronic insomnia. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, other health conditions, and certain medications can all affect our sleep patterns. If you suffer from chronic insomnia you should get in touch with your doctor who can help you restore a healthy sleep pattern3.

What should I do if I think I have insomnia?

If you think you are suffering from insomnia it is important to go to your doctor. You and your doctor will need to talk about things that could impact on your sleep and your sleep history, to therefore determine the best way to help you 4.

Stuff you should know

  • Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders with approximately half of adults report having symptoms of insomnia at one point in their lives.
  • 10% of people have experienced chronic insomnia.
  • It is more likely to occur in women than in men.
  • It is more likely to affect elderly adults.
  • People who are naturally more awake and alert may be more likely to suffer.
  • If you regularly use stimulants and alcohol you may experience it more often.
  • People with poor sleep hygiene practices are more likely to experience the condition.

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Tips for getting your child to sleep on Christmas Eve

Tips for getting your child to sleep on Christmas Eve

There’s no doubt about it, Christmas Eve is one of the most exciting times of the year for your little ones, but just how can you get your child to sleep on Christmas Eve?

There’s a little part in all of us that get excited on Christmas Eve but it’s important to remember that Santa Claus only visits children who are fast asleep. Getting your child to sleep on Christmas Eve is important as you don’t want to be exhausted on Christmas Day. But how do you overcome the anticipation and settle your children into a blissful sleep on the most exciting evening of the year?

Get active

It may be tempting to curl up in front of the TV but going outside and getting active will help tire your kids out in time for bed. A simple bike ride, a trip to the playground or even just a walk in the park will all help to expel their energy and excitement.

Stick to the routine

As tempting as it may be to let them stay up a little later sticking to the normal bedtime routine will help. Following the normal schedule will ensure they know when bedtime is coming and will keep any arguments at bay.

Track Santa Claus

Technology is a wonderful thing and these days your children don’t have to look out at the night sky and wonder where St. Nick is, they can now track him. There a few tracking sites available, Google map offers one here. It also allows you to see the Santa village in the month of December. The North American Aerospace Defence Command also has it’s own Santa tracking page which launches December 1st here.

You can use these websites to help track Santa Claus with your children and as an incentive for bedtime, because of course, Santa can’t visit until you are fast asleep!

Read them a bedtime story

Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘The Night Before Christmas’ makes for perfect bedtime reading. Inspire their imagination with this festive tale. This could also become a Christmas Eve bedtime tradition. When your children know their bedtime routine they are less likely to try and push the boundaries.

This is the perfect story to help your children fall asleep on Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

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What Causes Asthma at Night?

What Causes Asthma at Night?

It is common for people with asthma to find coughing, wheezing and breathlessness can wake them up at night. But what causes asthma to flare up at night?

Why asthma can wake you up at night

If you haven’t got your asthma under control, you’re more likely to get symptoms at night. But what causes these symptoms?

  1. When you lie flat on your back gravity makes it harder to breathe. This position can also trigger a cough, as any mucus in your chest may start to gather in the back of your throat.
  2. Changes in hormones at night mean that natural anti-inflammatory chemicals in your body are switched off. This can cause the tissues in your lungs to swell, which narrows the airways, making it harder to breathe. Taking your anti-inflammatory preventer inhaler every day will build up protection in your lungs so they become less inflamed at night.
  3. Some common asthma triggers such as dust mites can be found in your mattress, pillows and bedclothes. Mould can also be in your bedroom if it is damp. This can affect your breathing at night. If you like sleeping with your window open, you should also be aware that on high pollen or pollution days, these particles may enter the room.

What to do when asthma stops you sleeping

  1. Sit up straight and take your blue reliever inhaler, as prescribed.
  2. Prop yourself up with extra pillows as it allows your lungs to open up more fully when you breathe.
  3. If your asthma is made worse when the air in a room is too hot or too cold. Try to adjust the temperature to make sure you’re comfortable.
  4. A glass of water or a cup of herbal tea can help ease a dry throat.

How to stop asthma waking you at night in the long-term

You shouldn’t have to accept your night-time symptoms as normal. If your asthma is waking you up during the night it is a sign that your asthma isn’t well controlled. If the situation doesn’t change within 48 hours, or if you’re already taking your preventer inhaler as prescribed, talk to your GP or asthma nurse to see if they can adjust your medicines1.

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The Ultimate Guide to Clean Sleeping

The Ultimate Guide to Clean Sleeping

What is Clean Sleeping?

We all know it’s important to look after our health.

We know to eat right, exercise regularly and look after our skin, but how much effort do we put into our sleep?

Clean Sleeping is brought to us by Goop creator Gwyneth Paltrow in her latest book, Clean Beauty. It focuses on treating sleep with the same care and attention that we do our diet or skin, making it a priority above all else.

Some of Goop’s practises and claims have been known to raise eyebrows in the past. However, the concept of clean sleeping focuses mainly on achieving a good sleep routine, cutting out caffeine and allowing yourself to switch off.

With the added health and beauty benefits, what have we got to lose from giving it a go?

Top Tips for Clean Sleep

 

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep a night (ideally nine or 10)

    The lifestyle I lead is based not just on clean eating, but also on clean sleeping: at least seven or eight hours of good, quality sleep — and ideally even ten.1 Gwyneth explained in her article with the Daily Mail. Nine to ten is unrealistic for many of us, aiming towards eight hours of sleep per night would be a start.

 

  • Steer clear of stimulants after 2pm

    Reduce your intake of stimulants throughout the day, especially caffeine and refined sugars. It’s tempting to reach for a cup of coffee during your 3pm slump but don’t use caffeine as a substitute for food.

 

  • Keep the same sleep routine

    Get your body into a good sleep routine and go to bed at the same time every night. Gwyneth recommends at 10pm, but this may seem a little early for you. Focus on finding a time that suits you and stick to it2. You’ll be able to fall asleep easier and your circadian rhythm (your body clock) will also be on the same page.

 

  • Say no to your smart phone 90 minutes before you get into bed

    Poetically put as an ‘Electrical sundown,’ banning your screens from the bedroom can aid a more restful sleep. Your screens emit a blue light that increases stimulation and delays your circadian rhythm3. Power down at least 90 minutes before bed. Ensure your bedroom is tech free and create a sanctuary free from emails, social media notifications and the daily stresses of modern life. Learn more about how to regulate your circadian rhythm here.

 

  • Ban snacks at bedtime and keep a 12-hour fasting window in your day

    Say goodbye to midnight feasts. Goop Detox expert Dr Alejandro Junger recommends keeping a regular 12 hour fasting window between dinner and breakfast. He states that your body doesn’t slip into detox mode until about eight hours after your last meal and that it needs about four more hours of undisturbed sleep to detox properly4.

 

  • Meditate, meditate, meditate!

    In her article, Paltrow recommends ‘Yoga Nidra’ or psychic sleeping. This is a form of meditation that simulates the qualities of sleep while the body is still awake. This meditation focuses on each body part separately, in a circular motion. For example, focusing on your fingers, palm, wrist, forearm etc. all the way around the head, other arm and legs. It is supposed to put your brain into a state of near-sleep. Once mastered, this can be extremely relaxing, but you will need to practise to feel the full effects.

 

  • Relax with a trigger point massage

    This is all about relaxing and preparing yourself for sleep and Paltrow believes trigger point massages are key. Although it may not be attainable to keep this up every night you can always try it on a weekly basis or for when you are stressed. Simply give yourself a gentle head massage, targeting the pressure points on the back of your head. These are located approx. five fingers from the back of your ear at the base of your skull. You will feel a deep and a tender point at the right spot5. Massage this area in a circular motion for maximum release. Alternatively, you could give yourself a relaxing foot massage.

 

  • Copper

    Paltrow recommends investing in a copper pillowcase to combat wrinkles but there are other less costly alternatives. Silver Ions boast the same benefits and are also hypoallergenic and eczema friendly. At SlumberSlumber we have a silver ion infused memory foam pillow. It is anti-bacterial offering you a much fresher and healthier night’s sleep. We also have a variety of natural materials that can aid your sleep and take care of your skin. From silk, organic cotton to bamboo, discover our range of materials here.

We at SlumberSlumber welcome anything that helps give you a more restful sleep. Clean sleeping’s strict rules might not be for everyone but taking away some handy tips can really make a difference. Creating a peaceful sleeping environment, allowing yourself to shut off and steering clear of caffeine can all help us get as much as we can out of our forty winks.

 

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Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Sleep and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia’s impact on sleep

Sleep and fibromyalgia don’t go well together.

Sleep disturbances are very common for sufferers of the condition. While they may not have difficulty falling asleep, their sleep is likely to be light and easily disturbed so when they wake up they feel exhausted or unrested. These sleep disturbances can cause the feeling of constant fatigue and prevent the body from rejuvenation, which in turn leads to increased pain1.

The severe pain of this condition also means it is difficult to sleep. Research shows that the body has a lower tolerance to pain and discomfort with lack of sleep. Fibromyalgia patients must make every effort to minimise sleep disturbance.

Tips for creating a regular sleep routine:

  • Set fixed times for going to bed and waking up
  • Maintain a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Only retire to bed when you feel tired
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
  • Avoid eating heavy meals late at night

 

How to create the best sleeping environment:

  • Use thick blinds/blackout blinds or wear an eye mask to keep out early morning light or street lamps
  • Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom
  • Use earplugs if there is any noise disturbance
  • Avoid using laptops, watching television, eating, making phone calls or working while you’re in bed
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding suitable for the time of year

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