How it works
Sleep disorders can be caused by a variety of problems including stress, insomnia, narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnoea (where air flow is blocked getting into the lungs) and snoring problems. Unfortunately there isn’t one simple solution that can be prescribed as lifestyle choices, work commitments and personal issues all play a part in disrupting your dozing routine, but the following are the most commonly recommended...
A fairly new treatment idea, sleep therapy has been lumped together with other sense-healing techniques including light therapy and cold therapy. The aim is to get you to rest that weary head of yours so you can regain your strength and refocus your mind. With more and more spas offering relaxation areas, beds are also being installed to allow clients to have a quick snooze-fest without any disturbances. Some spas have even started to introduce classes to teach you how to switch off, and involve consultations with behavioural therapists, nutritionists and personal trainers.
If you think your difficulty slipping into slumber land has more to it than meets the eye, a form of psychotherapy could help you come to terms with various events you might have struggled to put to bed in the past. As well as prompting you to talk about your problems, therapists sometimes teach you tricks such as telling yourself to stay awake which normally has the opposite effect.
Sleep deprivation can be a long term problem or just a blip in the system, so if you’ve been removed from your normal routine, are suffering from jetlag or have just experienced a grievance, your GP might prescribe you with a course of sleeping pills to act as a crutch while you return to your everyday cycle.
A stop off at snooze central might be all the easier if you sniff some potent herbs before you hit the sack. Backed by some scientific evidence, the herb valerian is claimed to be effective for treating insomnia and Passiflora, wild lettuce extract, lavender and chamomile have also been commended for their sleep inducing properties. Other alternative medicines you might like to dabble in to help you sleep are hypnotherapy and acupuncture, as suggested by the World Health Organisation.
If you want to help yourself in your attempts at catching forty winks, there are several things you could try, all known as sleep hygiene measures. These include reducing your caffeine intake, especially in those all important twilight hours; avoiding heavy meals straight before you go to bed; getting into a daily routine to establish a regular sleep rhythm; not turning the TV or computer on when you can’t sleep - this stimulates the mind even more; not napping in the day; taking a warm, relaxing bath just before you go to bed to relax your muscles and clear your mind; making sure you partake in regular exercise, just not directly before bedtime; drinking alcohol in moderation, and stopping smoking as this could help prevent breathing problems.
Having a comfortable bed can also make a big difference, as can the right pillow and duvet, so if you are something of an insomniac, a magnetic mattress, pillow and duvet could be a worthy investment. Because they magnetise your entire body, it’s said they can help relieve aches and pains which encourages a deep-healing sleep.
Is it for me?
Different people need different amounts of sleep, but your body’s incessant need to sleep will never go away. By getting enough sleep, it can help reduce depression, making the need for antidepressants less prevalent. Lack of sleep can also be linked to poor health, high stress levels and obesity, so by getting between 6 and 8 hours sleep, you could be preventing yourself from long-term illnesses. If you work shifts, always feel drained or suffer from insomnia, any of the above methods could help you get a good night’s sleep.
Good to know
If your neck size is bigger than 17½ inches, you’re more likely to develop insomnia.