I just can't get to sleep

I just can't get to sleep Not being able to sleep is one of the most common problems that seems to affect everyone at some time in their life. For some, it's a living nightmare, and I'm sorry to say that there is no general cure.

Insomnia is a complaint of not being able to fall asleep or remain sleeping for a normal length of time. Yes, I'm stating the obvious but for the patient, this can be devastating.

Non-sufferers don't realise what it is like to be awake all night with nothing to do, knowing that everyone else is tucked up in bed dreaming. It can be a very lonely life not being able to sleep, and can lead to depression.

Transient Insomnia

Transient insomnia is usually temporary, lasting just a few nights. It's often brought on by excitement or anticipation of some event. A perfect example is the problem children have getting to sleep on Christmas Eve. For adults, you may have a pubic speech to make the following day or an important job interview.

Short-Term Insomnia

Short-Term insomnia can occur for many reasons, but only lasts for a couple of weeks or so. Poor sleep habits can bring this on, or stress and worrying about your job, promotion, health or personal relationships. When the stress or problem is resolved, the insomnia is usually gone.

Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia is a long term complaint which is very difficult to treat (if not impossible) and can last for years. It's usually thought of by the general public to be associated with elderly people, but it can affect anyone.

This type of insomnia can causes excessive daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, memory loss and irritability. It can start in early childhood and continue into adulthood if not treated. It is strongly recommended that you see your doctor, if you haven't already done so.

What are the causes?

Insomnia is said to be caused by underlying problems, but no-one really knows for sure. Those problems might be psychological stress or mental anxiety. Knowing that the night before you were unable to sleep just compounds the problem even more. Excessive daytime napping will obviously have an effect on your nightly sleep, as will the intake of caffeine and other stimulants. (Sorry all you coffee drinkers!) You could try decaffeinated?

Good Sleep Hygiene

This is said to play a large part in aiding a good nights restful sleep.

Better sleep hygiene None of the above "Good Sleep Hygiene" would help me sleep, but they might help someone. I find that I sleep better with the some back-lighting on, and listening to my favourite music. Watching the T.V. or reading a book sometimes works. I like a cup of milky coffee which I find relaxing. When milk is warm, it is said to release certain chemicals that naturally help you sleep.

I also have difficult sleeping on an empty stomach, so I usually have a light snack, which is supposed to be definitely the wrong thing to do. In my opinion, it boils down to do whatever works best for you.

Sometimes nothing works and you've just got to get up and do something else. The difficulty is that your partner or neighbours won't be too pleased if you start playing the trumpet in the middle of the night. One thing you might want to consider is chatrooms, as you can pass quite a bit of time away talking to people from all over the world.

Relaxation Tapes

There are some relaxation tapes available for insomniacs, though I've never tried these myself so I can't recommend any specific ones. If you do a search on Google or a similar search engine, you should find some and they are not too expensive, so they maybe worth a try.

Note: This information is not medical advice. Always see your doctor if you have a health problem.