Diseases, Conditions and Treatments

Your Feelings Towards Sleeplessness

Many strong feelings such as extreme worry or anxiety can be linked to sleeplessness.

– Do you feel anxious when you try to sleep?

If you answered Yes’ or Sometimes’, remember that anxiety is a common cause of sleeplessness. It often triggers your body’s fear response causing adrenaline to flow. Adrenaline is a substance produced by your body that makes you feel fidgety or restless. Your anxiety therefore acts to keep you alert. This is the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Panic attacks can occur at night especially if you have low mood. If this happens to you, it’s important to know what is going on. Breathlessness can also be a symptom of heart problems, so it is important to check with your doctor what the cause is. If you know that the cause is panic try to:

1. Sit on the side of the bed.
2. Close your mouth.
3. Take normal-sized breaths.
4. Relax and drop your shoulders.

Remind yourself it is just panic and will settle soon. Once it does, lie down again and go back to sleep.

– Are you feeling depressed, upset or low in mood and do you no longer enjoy things as before?

If you answered Yes’ or Sometimes’, remember that depression is a common cause of sleeplessness. For example, when you are feeling depressed you may find that it takes you several hours to get to sleep. You may wake up several hours earlier than normal feeling unrested or on edge. Having treatment for your depression can often be helpful for improving your sleep. Other feelings such as shame, guilt and anger can also cause sleeplessness.

Pain, itching, breathlessness or other physical symptoms can cause sleeplessness. Tackling these physical symptoms will help with your sleep problems.

Do you ever notice your heart beating loudly in your ear? This is a common and normal event. If you turn over and find another body position, it will settle down.

– Are other physical symptoms keeping you awake?

If you answered Yes’ or Sometimes’, you should see your doctor as you may need medical treatment for your symptoms. If you have a heart condition and take water tablets, changing the timing may help. Taking these during the day rather than just before going to sleep can help stop you having to get up again and again to go the toilet. Once you have been checked physically by your doctor and are taking any appropriate treatments, then you can try out the various hints and tips that follow to help you cope with these different common sleep problems.

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