The negative spiral of insomnia - Deepstash

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The negative spiral of insomnia

We have insomnia if we have difficulty falling or staying asleep three or more times a week, which lasts for months, leading to fatigue, mood changes or difficulty concentrating.

Insomnia is partly triggered by the fear and anxiety we have about not sleeping. When we start to chase after sleep - waking up later, taking naps, going to bed too early, it decreases our sleep drive. Our brain then begins to associate the bed with anxiety about falling asleep.

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When sleeping problems are increasing

According to a meta-analysis, about 40% of the population has had sleep problems during the pandemic.

We know to keep a consistent schedule, avoid alcohol, caffeine and bright lights before bed and practice other sleep habits. But it is not enough to solve chronic insomnia. Our brains need to feel safe and secure to be able to fall asleep.

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Tips to help you sleep

  • Don't chase sleep. Don't go to bed early or sleep late. Don't nap.
  • Don't go to be until you're sleepy. Sleepiness is when your eyes are drooping.
  • Don't stay in bed unless you're asleep.
  • Establish consistent daily routines and bedtime routines.
  • Recognise when you sleep best, then stick with it.
  • Don't tell yourself you won't be able to sleep. Instead, say that a bad night of sleep is okay.
  • Keep a journal. Write down all the things you don't want to forget.
  • If you start to ruminate in bed, think about the things you're grateful for.
  • Listen to someone else's voice, like an unexciting audiobook.

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Practice good sleep hygiene

  • Try to sleep for seven to nine hours a night.
  • Keep consistent wake-up and bedtimes.
  • Keep the bedroom cool, quiet and dark.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and exercise before bed.
  • Turn off your screens 30 to 60 minutes before you need to sleep.

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