What Is Hypersomnia?

What Is Hypersomnia?

We all have those days where we can’t seem to wake ourselves up. However, for some, it’s a serious issue. Hypersomnia is a condition in which you feel excessive daytime sleepiness and struggle to stay awake during the day, even after long stretches of sleep. People who have hypersomnia can fall asleep at any time – at work, school, or even while driving. Someone with hypersomnia may also have other sleep-related problems, like a lack of energy or trouble thinking clearly. Read more to discover the symptoms of hypersomnia and if it can be treated.

What Are the Symptoms of Hypersomnia?

Excessive sleepiness and sleeping are not the same as feeling tired all the time. If you have hypersomnia, you will:

  • Regularly nap during the day and still not feel refreshed
  • Fall asleep during the day, often while eating or talking
  • Still sleep for long hours at night
  • Have low energy
  • Be irritable and/ or anxious
  • Have a loss of appetite
  • Have trouble thinking or talking
  • Struggle to remember things
  • Be restless

The Different Types of Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia can be primary or secondary.

Primary hypersomnia occurs when there is no other medical condition present. The only symptom is excessive fatigue.

Secondary hypersomnia is when there is a medical condition present. These can include sleep apnoea, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, or chronic fatigue.1

What Causes Excessive Sleeping?

Primary hypersomnia is thought to be caused by faults in the brain system that controls your sleep and waking functions2, like the circadian rhythm.

Secondary hypersomnia can be a result of pre-existing conditions that cause fatigue or insufficient sleep. For example, sleep apnoea can lead to hypersomnia due to having trouble breathing at night. This forces people to wake up multiple times throughout the night.3

Some of the symptoms that can be caused by medical conditions are:

  • Falling into a deep sleep anywhere and without warning – caused by narcolepsy
  • Loud snorting, breathing, and snoring at night – caused by sleep apnoea
  • An unusual feeling in your legs, especially during the night – caused by Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Low mood, little interest in things, irritability – caused by depression4

Some medications can also cause hypersomnia, so check the side effects of any medication you may be taking.

Other potential causes of hypersomnia include being overweight, drug or alcohol abuse, a head injury, or even genetics.5

How Is Hypersomnia Treated?

Treatments for hypersomnia vary depending on what’s causing it. While hypersomnia and narcolepsy are different conditions, there are many drugs used for narcolepsy that could help someone struggling with excessive sleeping. These drugs are stimulants that help you feel more awake, like amphetamine or modafinil.6

Your doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Having a regular sleep schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same time every day)
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, or drugs
  • Eating a high-nutrition diet to maintain energy levels naturally

When Should You See Your Doctor?

You should visit your doctor if you often fall asleep during the day, and if sleepiness is affecting your life. Your doctor will look into why you’re sleeping excessively, so they might ask you questions that test for depression, suggest you keep a sleep diary, or refer you to a sleep specialist.

Don’t try to self-treat yourself. While lifestyle changes usually help you sleep better, if there’s an underlying medical condition causing hypersomnia, you won’t do much to help yourself. Talking to your doctor is the first step towards sleeping well.

What Is Hypersomnia?

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Can Hypnosis Treat Insomnia?

Can Hypnosis Treat Insomnia?

Hypnosis may conjure up images of people acting silly on stage, but it’s usually more boring than that. Hypnosis can be sleep-inducing – but not from yawns of boredom. It could actually be a way to help people who are struggling with insomnia. This is because hypnosis may help to allow both the body and mind to relax and let go of the anxiety that lack of sleep can create. Find out more about hypnosis and how it could be used for people with insomnia to get a good sleep.

What Is Hypnosis?

First thing’s first: there is no swinging pocket watch, and there are no chants or intense gazes. Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, involves listening to verbal cues from a hypnotherapist that entice you into a trance-like state. Imagine yourself so engrossed in a good book that you forget all about the world around you. This kind of state is the same you’d find yourself in hypnosis; completely relaxed while also concentrating. So, a session that’s working towards helping you sleep more deeply would probably involve a soft, soothing voice using words like “relax”, “let go”, and “easily”. Afterwards, or even while you’re listening, you might find yourself drifting off to a deep sleep.

Does Sleep Hypnosis Work When Treating Insomnia?

Hypnosis is a great way to help yourself relax. It can also be used to quiet any anxious thoughts that are keeping you awake, or are a result of lack of sleep. This is especially helpful for people struggling with insomnia. Hypnosis could also increase the amount of time that you spend in slow-wave sleep, or deep sleep, by 80%.1 Deep sleep is the most restorative sleep that you need – it’s important for memory and healing, and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed.

Hypnosis, like most things, can be a great success for some. For others, it can be a bit tricky. This is because some people are more “suggestable” than others: they’re drawn into a trance-like state more easily. Studies suggest that about a quarter of people can’t be hypnotised at all.2 Plus, other research found that sleep hypnosis may need to be used alongside cognitive-behavioural therapy to have any results.3 Therefore, for some, simply using hypnosis on its own mightn’t work as well as you’d like.

Trying other relaxing techniques could work, such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. Mindfulness encourages you to be in the moment by focusing on the small things. Read more about its benefits here.

Should You Try Sleep Hypnosis?

While sleep hypnosis is generally considered harmless and beneficial to some with sleeping problems, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first. Consulting your GP will make sure that your sleep problems aren’t a sign of an underlying medical condition. Self-treating and avoiding, or delaying, standard care can have serious consequences for both your physical and mental health as you may still be missing out on the sleep that you need. Your doctor can refer you to a qualified hypnotherapist or find another way that would help you get a good night’s sleep.

Can Hypnosis Treat Insomnia?

Hypnosis may conjure up images of people acting silly on stage, but it’s usually more boring than that. Hypnosis can be sleep-inducing – but not from yawns of boredom. It could actually be a way to help people who are struggling with insomnia. This is because hypnosis...

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Sleep Well Before Your Wedding Day

Sleep Well Before Your Wedding Day

When the wedding day approaches, many brides and grooms may feel excitement bubbling up, as well as stress seeping in. With this mix of anticipation, restless nights can be inevitable. It may be one of the best days of your life, but that doesn’t mean that it will be worry free. Weddings are actually one of the most stressful life events. Not only do you have to spend months organising it, but you’ll be worried that something could go wrong on the day. Plus, getting married is ending one chapter of your life and beginning another – which is a big moment for everyone. With the anxiety of making sure that everything will be perfect, it’s no wonder that you may struggle to get a good sleep before your wedding day. Yet, the key to having a great day isn’t just making sure that everyone is having a good time – it’s making sure you sleep well before your wedding day.

In the run up …

Part of getting a good sleep before your wedding is paying attention to how you sleep in the nights leading up to your wedding day. Make sure that you’re getting at least six-and-a-half hours of sleep each night. If you sleep less than this, you could be more likely to be irritable during the day. This isn’t exactly how you want to feel when making last minute decisions or getting married!

A lack of sleep will also ruin any diets that you may be on. Sleep deprived people are more likely to indulge in junk food for a quick energy fix. All that hard work at fitting into the perfect dress could be completely washed away if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Also, not getting enough sleep could harm your immune system, so you’re more at risk of catching bugs and infections. Who wants to be getting married when they’re snotty and sickly? Not only would it ruin the day, but just think of the photos. So, getting a good sleep before the big day will make sure that you enjoy your wedding.

How Can You Get A Good Sleep Before Your Wedding Day?

Make A List of Your Worries

Whatever you’re worrying about, be it flowers arriving or finishing touches to bridesmaid dresses, write a list. Tackle the list the next day. By writing a list, you should leave anything that you’re worried about on the page and give yourself some peace. Plus, a list could give you a new perspective. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about everything that’s worrying you, seeing these worries written down could show you that there’s less on your mind than you thought.

Plan and Pack Accordingly

If you’re spending the night before your wedding in a hotel room or an unfamiliar environment, you should prepare for what sort of conditions you’ll be sleeping in. You may not be able to prepare for everything, but taking ear plugs or an eye mask will help to eliminate any strange noises or bright lights that could wake you up. Plus, comfort is key when it comes to a good sleep. While you can’t take your mattress, bed, or bedding with you, you can take your pillow! The flip side is to plan ahead if you’ve got people sleeping at your house. Planning in advance takes away any last-minute stresses. Know where they’ll sleep and how many people you’ll accommodate. Make sure you don’t have too many people staying with you – while it may be fun to have everyone over in the evening, it’ll be chaotic when you’re all getting ready for the wedding.

Enjoy Some “Me Time”

If you’re stressing out that everything won’t go to plan, or you’re too excited to settle, try to relax and get some quiet “me time”. Have a warm bath, read a book, do some yoga, or even go for a short walk. These will all help to relax both the mind and body. Plus, you could try some mindfulness techniques to quiet down your thoughts. Mindfulness is all about focusing on the small things and being in the moment. You can read about its benefits and how it works here.

Avoid Technology

Switch off your phone, tablet, laptop, and even the TV. Using technology before going to bed will only harm your sleep quality, as the blue light that’s emitted from these screens will disrupt the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. When this happens, you won’t fall asleep easily. Read more about technology’s effect on your sleep here. Instead, read a book, listen to relaxing music, or have a warm bath – just concentrate on relaxing.

Go Easy on the Alcohol

As tempting as it may be, don’t end up having a second hen night on the night before your wedding. It’s true that alcohol can make you sleepy, but it’ll keep you from falling into the deep, restorative sleep that your body needs. You’ll wake up feeling tired. Plus, you’ll be more likely to wake up in need for a bathroom trip during the night. You could struggle to get to sleep – especially if you start to think of your wedding and get excited or stressed! You don’t want to be saying “I do” with bloodshot eyes and dark shadows – it’s called beauty sleep for a reason!

Get Up If You Can’t Sleep

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, don’t stay in bed. If you do, your brain will link your bed with restlessness, and sleep will get even further away. Go to another room and read a book, listen to soothing music, or get a glass of milk. Milk has the ingredient tryptophan, a natural calming agent that will help you to relax. Cheese, yoghurt, and ice cream will also have this effect on you. Only go back to bed when you feel sleepy.

Accept That You May Not Get The Best Sleep

While getting a good night’s sleep will do you more wonders than makeup ever will, embrace and accept the fact that you just might not get the best sleep. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re awake when you’d rather be sleeping. It won’t help you sleep well before your wedding day. Just relax, tell yourself everything will be fine, and you’ll soon drift off into a peaceful snooze.

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7 Tips for A Good Sleep Before Going on Holiday

7 Tips for A Good Sleep Before Going on Holiday

Who doesn’t love getting away for a break? While you’re counting down the days, your excitement bubbles a bit more the closer you get. However, all this excitement can be harmful for your sleep – especially on the night before you go on holiday, when stress and nerves are thrown into the mix, too. When you’re stressed or excited, your body produces more cortisol and adrenaline, which raises your heart rate. This means that you may find falling asleep – and staying asleep – a challenge. This can be particularly frustrating if you’ve got an early flight and need some quality shut eye. Heading off on a holiday should be fun but, if you’re tired, it won’t be. However, you don’t have to struggle to get some sleep. We’ve gathered some tips for you to get a good sleep before going on holiday.

7 Tips for A Good Sleep Before Your Holiday

1) Don’t Go to Bed Late

If you don’t have an early flight and don’t have to get up too early, go to bed at your normal time. Don’t go to bed late, as this could disrupt your sleeping pattern and keep you from getting quality sleep. Plus, you’ll end up not getting enough sleep to feel refreshed and ready for your flight when you get up. If you do need to get up early, try to get to sleep a bit earlier – especially if you’re driving to the airport. A warm glass of milk can help you feel sleepy, or you could try a sleeping aid. The Deep Sleep Pillow Spray from ThisWorks features a soothing blend of Lavender, Vetivert, and Camomile that’ll calm your mind and body to help you to drift off. Find out more about its benefits here.

2) Plan Ahead

Plan ahead and make sure that everything is ready for the following day. If you’re going to bed with a to-do list running around your head, you’ll have trouble falling into a restful sleep. Avoid this by getting all the housework done before you go to bed – don’t leave any cleaning for the day you’re leaving! Have all suitcases packed and make sure that tickets, currency, or anything else you need handy are in your bag. Writing out a checklist of things you need to do can help you get everything done. When it’s all done, you can relax and enjoy a quiet night before going on holiday.

3) Have Some “Me Time”

If you’re stressed out or just too excited, try to relax by giving yourself some “me time”. This is easier said than done, especially if you’ve got excited children, but even treating yourself to some quiet time after they go to bed will work, too. Have a warm bath or shower, listen to some quiet music, read a book, or even try some meditation. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that encourages you to focus on the moment, quieting any anxious thoughts you may be having. Read more about its benefits and how to practice it here.

4) Have A Healthy Sleeping Environment

Having the best sleeping environment will help you have the best sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet.

5) Leave Electronic Devices Alone

Switch off your phone, laptop, tablet, and even your TV for about an hour before you go to sleep. If you’re using your phone as an alarm, put it on silent mode so that notifications won’t disturb your sleep. The blue light that’s emitted from these screens can disrupt your body’s production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. This will keep you awake when you want to be asleep. Instead, fill this hour with quiet, relaxing activities – read a book, have a bath, or listen to soothing music. Read more about technology’s effect on your sleep here.

6) Avoid Alcohol

As tempting as it might be, don’t have too many glasses of your favourite booze. While alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it’ll disrupt your sleep as you’ll wake up needing to go to the bathroom. You may struggle to get back to sleep – especially if you start thinking of your holiday and get excited. Plus, drinking too much alcohol before going to bed will keep you from getting the deep, restorative sleep that you need to wake up feeling refreshed.

7) Don’t Stay in Bed If You Can’t Sleep

If you’re struggling to get to sleep, don’t be hard on yourself. If you’re still awake for about twenty minutes after getting into bed, don’t stay in bed. Staying in bed when you can’t sleep will make your brain come to associate your bed with restlessness – this will make it even harder to get to sleep! Get up and go to a different room. Have a glass of milk, read a book, or listen to quiet music – anything that’s relaxing and doesn’t involve looking at a screen. Only go back to bed when you feel sleepy.

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Spring Cleaning for a Healthier Mind and a Healthier Sleep

Spring Cleaning for a Healthier Mind and a Healthier Sleep

Spring is synonymous with a fresh start after the cold and dreary winter evenings. There’s no better time to brush off the cobwebs and freshen up – and we always look ahead to spring cleaning. When we think of spring cleaning, we imagine ourselves organising the drawers and the cupboards, clearing out the closet, or tidying up the garden. However, a spring clean can be more than clearing out your home – it could be a great way to clear out your emotional space, too. Just as cleaning the house and getting rid of clutter can feel invigorating, spring cleaning your mind can take away the burden of stress and anxiety, helping you live better and sleep well. Below, you’ll find advice on spring cleaning for a healthy sleep.

Getting a good sleep is a great way to help get rid of emotional clutter. Find out how you can get a good sleep in the spring with our article, ‘Sleeping Well in Spring‘.

Dealing with A “Stress Mess”

We’ve all got cluttered homes – stacks of shoes, old clothes that wear dust, and cooking utensils that we always intend to use but never do. Just as you’ve got all this stuff cluttering your physical space, you’ll have stress that clutters your emotional and psychological space. Stress isn’t just a reaction to something big and sudden, like a serious health problem or dealing with a death in the family. Instead, stress can be experienced in everyday moments that can put pressure on us. Your boss piles more work on an already heavy to-do list, something stops working in your home and it can’t be fixed within a week, or your child is sick and you can’t find someone to look after them while you go to work. This “stress mess” clogs up your mental space with anxiety, worry, depression, irritability, and anger – to name a few. With all these harmful emotions, you could possibly start to think negatively, be pessimistic, or cynical.1

The stress mess isn’t just not feeling great – it can actually be quite harmful for your health. Stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, are dumped into your body. This will increase your heartbeat and raise your blood pressure.2​ This could harm the quality of your sleep, as you need to be relaxed to fall asleep. If you’re worked up due to stress, you won’t fall asleep easily. Plus, these hormones could also cause the liver to dump glucose into your blood stream, and this could increase the risk of diabetes.3​ You can read more about diabetes in our article here.

Sleep Apnoea and Health

Stress can also make you eat more, eat too quickly, or eat foods that are high in sugar or fat. These all result in weight gain. While we all indulge in comfort eating now and again, it’s still important to be mindful of what you eat as weight gain could lead to sleep apnoea. This extra weight might put pressure on your throat and interrupt your breathing while you sleep. This’ll wake you up. While your breathing will resume normally and you’ll go back to sleep without knowing you were awake at all, this could happen up to hundreds of times in one night. These frequent awakenings will weaken the quality of your sleep, leading to daytime fatigue and further frustrations and irritability. Find out more about sleep apnoea in our article here.

Not only will this contribute to poor sleep quality, but poor health, too. If you’re not healthy, you’ll struggle to get a good sleep even more. Read about the connection between health and the quality of your sleep in our topic, Health and Sleep.

With all these harmful consequences of stress, it’s important that you de-clutter your headspace. Stress can keep you awake when you need to go to sleep, and you’ll be even more frustrated during the day. Therefore, spring cleaning your home and mind is a great way to help yourself get a good sleep.

Spring Cleaning Your Mind for a Better Sleep

You throw out old shoes and donate clothes that no longer fit to the charity shop, but how do you clean out your mental space? We’ve gathered some tips for spring cleaning for a healthy sleep.

1. It no longer fits

Emotions like resentment, anger, or bitterness are like clothes that no longer fit, are worn out, and outdated. Throw them out. You have no more use for them, but you’ve been hanging onto them. They aren’t useful, so they need to go. Think of the negative emotions as an ugly coat that’s got holes and stains. Throw it into the closest bin bag – just as you need to make room for a new coat, you need to make room for new, happier emotions.

2. You haven’t worn it in years

There are emotions that lurk in the shadows of your mind, forgotten. And then, they’ll jump out and bite you. It’s usually some old childhood grudge. Maybe you’re the youngest child so everyone always saw you as the baby and didn’t let you make decisions. Your response was a tantrum or slamming doors. Now, you get angry when you’re left out of meetings at work, or maybe your opinion isn’t asked about where to meet up with friends. To stop yourself from getting worked up over these situations, it’s time to let go of that grudge and move on. Letting go of old grudges will be like a breath of fresh air – you’re only holding yourself back, after all.

3. Straighten out your priorities

Ask yourself, “what’s important to me?” Is it self-care, support from your family and friends? Maybe it’s making sure that you have time to read every day, or another hobby that you like? Spending time with your dog, or going for a jog every morning? Taking the time to answer this question can help to reduce decision fatigue, taking away the mental clutter that comes with trying to decide where to place your time and energy. This is especially true when you work all day – the evening should be when you catch up on you.

4. Sweep away self-criticism

It’s easier said than done – but it can be done. If you catch yourself using negative words about yourself, stop! Replace the negativity with positive, encouraging language, like “I’m doing my best”. Life is about progress, not perfection. Nobody is perfect, and people who are continuously striving for perfection could be missing out on some happiness.

5. Focus on your physical health

A big part of sustaining your mental health is maintaining your physical health. With brighter mornings, spring is a great time to vow to clean up your exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be a vigorous workout at the gym – even a 20-minute walk in the morning could help to boost your mood and get you ready for the day ahead. Just make sure that you aren’t exercising too close to bedtime – the earlier the better. Plus, exercising outdoors during the day will help your circadian rhythm as you’ll get more sunlight. This’ll help your inner body clock adjust to the new season so that you can enjoy a good sleep. Read more about your circadian rhythm here.

6. Brush away the dust

Deep spring cleaning can be therapeutic. Weekly or bi-weekly cleaning around the house may seem like enough, but you probably don’t clean out the clutter or get rid of those cobwebs hiding in the corners. Open the windows and switch on the vacuum – cleaning out all the dust and cobwebs will help you breathe better at night for a better sleep. This is especially true if you suffer from allergies.

7. Clear the nightstand of tech

If you leave your phone next to your bed, it’s time to find somewhere else for it to spend the night. If you get a text at 1 a.m., this could wake you up. If you check your phone, the blue light that’s emitted from the screen could disrupt your circadian rhythm, your inner clock that decides when you’re sleepy or awake. This will make it harder for you to go back to sleep. The best way to help yourself snooze all night long would be to leave your phone out of the room. However, this may not be possible – maybe you use your phone as an alarm clock. If you can’t leave your phone in another room, make sure it’s on silent mode or check if it’s got a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature. This setting prevents any texts, calls, or notifications from sounding during the hours you set, and is a great way to make sure your phone doesn’t wake you up. Read more about technology’s effect on your sleep here.

8. Check your bedding and bed

While you probably already wash your bedlinens on a regular basis, don’t forget about washing bulky comforters or your duvet cover. While you’re at it, throw your pillows into a hot water cycle, and clean and rotate your mattress. By doing this in the spring, you could kill any dust mites that have survived the winter. With no dust mites, you won’t be itchy or sneezing, and you can look forward to a good, healthy sleep.

9. De-clutter your bedroom

Making sure that your bedroom is in order is a great way to help yourself de-stress and sleep better. If you’re always looking at a mess in your room while you’re getting into bed, this can trigger stress. This is the last thing you want when you’re trying to fall asleep. A tidy room will put your mind at ease and is more conducive to sleep. Clear any dirty laundry off the floor and leave it in a washing basket instead. You could even rearrange the furniture if your room doesn’t feel comforting or relaxing. Keep your nightstand, closet, and dresser organised, and remove piles of books, magazines, or mail from around your bed. You don’t have to be completely minimalist – some books and soothing scents are fine to keep in arm’s reach. Just make sure that you get rid of visual chaos – less chaos, less stress, better sleep.

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