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Sleeping Difficulties

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 21 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Sleep Problems sleeping Problems sleep

Most teenagers and adults need between seven and ten hours of sleep per night to wake up feeling refreshed and energetic, yet due to hectic schedules, poor lifestyle choices, emotional issues and a variety of sleep conditions a good night's sleep is often just a dream. If you suffer from sleep difficulties, take matters into your own hands and look forward to great sleep in the near future!

Hold Back a Hectic Schedule

One of the main reasons people fail to get enough sleep each night is that their days are jam-packed with activity. The pace of modern life is frantic, and often we are on our feet from sun up to sun down before we collapse into bed for a few short hours. If you know that you are burning the midnight oil, catch up on your sleep by:

  • Reorganising your days. Cut out unnecessary activities like watching television, reading magazines, playing video games or talking on the phone to free up a few extra hours.
  • Organising your week. Plan out when you will do your homework and catch up on chores so that no particular day is overloaded with activities.
  • Cut down on your commitments. Prioritise the obligations in your life and cut out the three to which you are the least committed in order to claw back some sleep time.
  • Say no to any new sleep suspenders. Don't organise the next night out, don't participate in the next soccer match and certainly don't add anything else to your schedule until you've got all of your existing activities under control.

Learn to Love a Sleep Friendly Lifestyle

Many people fail to get their beauty sleep because they've made poor lifestyle choices that day. To help get your own 40 winks, consider:

  • Exercising during the day, but not at night, to help tire yourself out.
  • Eating enough healthy foods to keep yourself satisfied.
  • Cutting out caffeinated food and drinks such as tea, coffee or fizzy drinks.
  • Avoiding "upper" drugs like ecstasy and amphetamines.
  • Keeping your bedroom temperature cool enough to be comfortable under the duvet.
  • Getting up at a similar time each morning.
  • Stopping work at least a half an hour before bedtime.
  • Sipping non-caffeinated tea before retiring.
  • Getting a specialised mattress or downy pillow to help you snuggle in.
  • Taking a lukewarm bath after dinner to help you relax.

Escape from Sleep-Sapping Emotional Issues

Of course, even if you make all of the necessary lifestyle changes there is still the worry that you'll get to bed and lay awake for hours with thoughts running around your head. If you are a victim of frustrations, worries and anxieties taking over your sleep time, think about:

  • Making a list of them right before bedtime. By getting everything down on paper you'll free up some brain space for dreams.
  • Imagining a worst case scenario. Plan out what you would do if you really did fail your A-levels, show up at school naked or declare your undying love for your crush. Once you can solve those the realities will be much easier.
  • Talking to someone. Get it all out while you're awake and hopefully you'll be able to focus on sleeping at night.

Seek Help for Sleeping Conditions

There are a variety of sleeping conditions that can make getting your seven to ten hours of sleep a nightmare, including:

  • Insomnia - an inability to sleep or remain asleep.
  • Nightmares.
  • Restless leg syndrome - a painful feeling that you must move your limbs.
  • Sleep apnoea - several times per night you wake up feel as if you can't breathe.
  • Sleep walking.
If you suffer from any of these conditions, talk to your GP immediately. Do not attempt to use over the counter medication or alcohol to help you sleep. If you find yourself lying in bed counting up your homework rather than sheep, you're probably not getting enough sleep. Rather than spending your days in a sleepy fog, make a few changes to your daily routines and hopefully a peaceful slumber will not be far behind. If this doesn't work, talk to your GP about possible sleep conditions and how you can remedy them. Good luck!

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