Are you one of the 36 % of adults who struggle to fall asleep at night or who wake up in the middle of the night and count the hours to dawn?1 If this sounds familiar or if you’re waking up as tired as when you went to bed you may be suffering from insomnia.2 Typically, adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep a night in order to stay mentally and physically healthy.3 In fact, sleep is as vital for your health and well-being as eating and breathing and a chronic lack of sleep can have far-reaching consequences on your quality of life.1,2 That’s why it’s important that you recognise the symptoms and side effects of insomnia and address your sleeplessness. You can make a good start by using the tools provided here to help you recognise the symptoms and effects of insomnia and manage them.
The Do’s and Don’ts of getting a good night’s sleep
If you’re suffering from sleep difficulties, there are things that you can do and things you can avoid inorder to help you get a better night’s sleep. Try these sleep hygiene tips first before consideringseeking medical treatment.
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day5
- Make sure you have a good sleep environment with a comfortable bed in a quiet, dark room6
- Do something relaxing just before bed, like taking a warm bath or breathing exercises5
- Exercise regularly but avoid strenuous exercise in the late evenings5
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime7
- Keep a sleep diary to help determine what is positively or negatively affecting your sleep5
- If you’re overweight or obese, work at shedding a few pounds as obesity can negativelyimpact your sleep8
- Don’t stay in bed if you’re awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something else and then go back to bed and try again5
- Don’t take naps during the day as this will make you less sleepy at night5
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol, especially in the evening5
- Avoid caffeine and stimulants (coffee, tea, certain soft drinks, chocolate) for at least 4-6 hours before bedtime5
- Don’t eat a heavy meal just before bedtime. If you are hungry have a light, healthy snack7
- Don’t look at the clock all the time5
Monitoring your sleep with a sleep diary
It’s difficult to remember everything that you ate, drank or did over the previous week that could have affected your sleep. It’s also not always easy to remember how many hours you slept every night and how refreshed you felt when you woke up in the morning. A sleep diary helps you keep a daily record of the quality and length of your sleep the night before. It enables you to record things that may be impacting your sleep – like food, drinks, stress, noise and activities. By keeping a diary, you’ll be ableto learn more about your sleep patterns and what negatively or positively affects your sleep, and if you decide to seek help from your healthcare provider, it will give them a detailed insight into your sleep difficulties.
Below is an example of a sleep diary. You can download a similar one at www.sleepless.co.za. Print out the pages and keep them next to your bed with a pen for easy access. Complete the diary everyday for at least one week – the first part at bedtime and the second part when you wake up.
List below any other things that may have affected your sleep during the last 3 weeks (e.g. partner snoring, dogs barking, worrying, room temperature, woke myself up snoring or gasping for air).
Other medications you are taking may affect your sleep. List your medications here andshow this to your healthcare provider.
Ask you Dr for the only registered melatonin and remember to go to www.sleepless.co.za to download your free sleep diary.
1. Mental Health Foundation. Sleep Matters: The impact of sleep on health and wellbeing. Mental Health Awareness Week2011. [Online] 2011 [cited 2020 Jul 14]. Available from: URL:http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/MHF-Sleep-Report-2011.pdf?.
2. Wilson SJ, Nutt DJ, Alford C, Argyropoulos SV, Baldwin DS, Bateson AN, et al. British Association for Psychopharmacologyconsensus statement on evidence-based treatment of insomnia, parasomnias and circadian rhythm disorders. JPsychopharmacol 2010;24(11):1577-1600.
3. Zisapel N. Sleep and sleep disturbances: biological basis and clinical implications. Cell Mol Life Sci 2007;64:1174-1186.
4. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. American PsychiatricPublishing: Washington DC, 2013. Available from: URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.
5. Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI). Sleep hygiene. [Online] [cited 2020 Jul 15]. Available from: URL:https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/-/media/CCI/Mental-Health-Professionals/Sleep/Sleep---Information-Sheets/Sleep-Information-Sheet---04---Sleep-Hygiene.pdf.
6. American Sleep Association (ASA). Sleep Hygiene Tips. [online] [cited 2020 Jul 15]. Available from: URL:https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-hygiene-tips/.
7. American Alliance for Healthy Sleep (AAHS). Healthy Sleep Habits. [online] 2017 Feb 9 [cited 2020 Jul 15]. Available from:URL: http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits.
8. Alfaris N, Chittams J, Diewald L, Vetter M, Wadden T. Effect of Behavioural Weight Loss on Sleep and Mood: Results fromthe POWER-up Trial. Abstract presented at the 16th International Congress of Endocrinology and Endocrine Society’s 96thAnnual Meeting & Expo (ICE-ENDO) 2014, June 21-24, Chicago, USA. Abstract OR07-1.
Further information is available on request to the holder of registration.
Litha Pharma (Pty) Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 1994/008717/07.
106 16th Rd, Midrand, 1686. www.acino.co.za. LP3138 07/2020
This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Acino Litha Pharma.