Mental Health Monday’s | Sleep

mental health

Hi lovelies, & Happy Monday! I can’t believe how quick the weekend’s go, and before we know it’s Monday again! I hope you all had a great weekend and are feeling ready and motivated for this week ahead!

After being an insomniac for so many years, one of the hardest relationships I have is with sleep – which then leaves the burning question of Why can’t I sleep? Primarily, for one, one of the reasons is because going to sleep becomes one of my un-safe zones. It means I have horrible flash backs, nightmares and panic attacks, leaving me scared to sleep.

Having the feeling of exhaustiveness while trying to get on with your day can honestly make your day 10x harder. You’re left feeling sluggish and un-motivated. It’s been scientifically proven that getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night is the right amount and you should wake up feeling amazing! But for those of us who struggle to even get 2 hours sleep a night, it can be a horrible task of knowing you need to go to bed.

After years of struggling and finally being diagnosed, I was put on sleeping medication. At first, it felt like a welcome. I was sleeping for 5-6 hours a night and honestly thought I had cracked my sleeping, even if I was getting a little aided-help. But 3 years on, my sleeping medication sucks. It leaves me with the opposite effect and no matter how tired/un-tired I am, if my body is not ready to sleep, then no amount of sleeping medication will help. Or on the other hand, if I can fall asleep – I have trouble staying asleep and the constant battle of trying to sleep leaves you feeling more awake than ever.

There are many different causes for not being able to sleep, in my case it is past trauma. If you’re wondering if you have any underlying issues which may be manifesting, then speak to a doctor and you really might be able to accept that insomnia is because of your mental health.

Another feeling I have when I’m unable to sleep is the horrible feeling of hyperarousal. Meaning when I’m ready to sleep I’m feeling guarded, tense and on edge which causes me so many problems when I’m trying to sleep – some people may also find that being more sensitive to sound means it disturbs our sleep too.

I have finally accepted that insomnia is a part of my mental health conditions, and therefore I no longer fight the fact I can sleep, but, one thing I have found that helps is to change little habits throughout my routine to try and help improve my ability to even feel tired.

Sticking to a schedule – I have found that it is so important to have a regular time slot you stick to, to get into bed (maybe between 9-11pm) which then gives your body time to relax. Once you stick to a schedule, your body will get used to going to bed at the same time every night, and this should train your mind into telling yourself you’re actually tired.

Pay attention to what you’re drinking/eating – by this, I’m not telling you what to eat at all! But going to bed either over-full or hungry will also stop you sleeping, your mind will be concentrating on food and then make you feel irritated. Avoid coffee past 2pm, I don’t drink coffee as it gives me heart palpitations but even through CBT exercises, its scientifically proven that drinking coffee can boost your stimulations and make it harder for you to sleep.

Healthy sleeping habits – avoid sleeping throughout the day, and I understand this is an extremely hard one, especially when you haven’t slept throughout the night and all you want to do is sleep. Make sure you’re going to sleep a little earlier that evening, and hopefully you will find it easier to sleep. Try and make sure your room is a relaxing place, and try to limit your activities in the bedroom (now now) – I’m talking about make sure you don’t eat in your room or do everything, your bedroom should be associated with sleep. Try and keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature with what you’re comfortable with – even try and use an eye mask which can help to block out any distractions.

Try and relax – try and practice relaxation exercises before bed in order to release muscle tension and to slow down your breathing. Many people can experience worry when they go to bed at night, so by trying mindfulness, it can help you to separate your worries.

If there are any other sleep habits that you find help – then please drop them below!

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