Sleep can be something a lot of people battle with especially those who suffer with mental illness, this can be for a number of reasons.
This is something I suffer with that’s for sure, not being able to sleep is something that can make your mental illness a lot worse. Sleep is hard when your mind is going 10000 miles per hour, not being able to truly relax. It can take hours for you even be able to get some sleep. Normally at around 3/4am I can finally get off to sleep, this only allows me a few hours before having to get up for work. Leaving me completely exhausted… which isn’t any good for anyone. The less sleep you get the more you become anxious and frustrated, but this is why you can’t sleep in the first place so it soon becomes a vicious circle!
For me I struggle to get to sleep but once I’m asleep I seem to be ok. I am always one for tossing and turning throughout the night, but I find that I can ‘normally’ go to sleep… however this is not always the case. So I try a number of things to help, this can be from having herbal tea to meditating.
One thing I do find which is a common occurrence for me when sleeping is hot sweats in the night, at first I thought it was something I was coming down with something (maybe a cold) but it soon came apparent this was something to do with my mental health and has now been identified as panic attacks in my sleep… something which isn’t so nice to experience.
Night terrors… these have got to be the worse part of depression and anxiety when it comes to sleeping. Not everyone experiences these but they may have heard or had them in the past. I find it terrifying I would wake up in tears and screaming waking up the house. I never really understand why until I started to remember what I was dreaming about… I will tell you now it was not pretty. I feel as thought I am not in control, being a control freak this is something which doesn’t help my mental state.
If you are struggling to get to sleep or even stay asleep I would recommend that you try what you think is best for you. Some of these include;
- Not eating to close to bed time, so your last meal should be a few hours to allow time for your body to digest the food.
- Trying herbal teas, my favourite is lavender teas. You could even try something like calms which can help to relax you before bed.
- Relaxation/meditation this can be brilliant but doesn’t work straight away it takes a lot of practice but can come very in handy when it comes to not being able to switch off or in a middle of a panic attack. 100% worth a try. If you have a smart phone there are plenty of apps available such as headspace and simple habit.
- Not having a shower just before bed.. this increases your body temperature and it takes a good few hours in order for your body to get back to normal temperature.
- Lavender… whether it’s burning a candle (just make sure you don’t leave burning when going to sleep), essential oils you can put these on your pillow or on a hanky, plug-ins etc. There are plenty of ways to have lavender brought into your bedroom.
- No television or electronics an hour before you go to sleep. Using an electronic tricks your brain to thinking it’s day time due to the blue light which is released. This will cause plenty of issues with you trying to sleep. So try this before anything.
- No caffeine. Most people have a caffeine ban from 6pm this allows plenty of time for your body to get rid of the caffeine so your able to have a good nights sleep.
- Writing… this may seem a little bit odd but it does help if you have a lot going through your mind. You could write how your feeling, a letter to someone or just what’s going through your mind.
- Putting your phone on silent. This will allow you to get some rest without being disturbed by late phone calls/texts. It means you can try to get your full 7/8 hours of sleep a night like we all should.
The best thing I would recommend in trying to get to sleep is just trying to get into a routine. Is there anything else you could recommend to people struggling with sleep? Even I still need help when it comes to sleeping.
If you have tried everything in your power to try to sleep then I would highly recommend that you go to see your local GP as they will be able to look into this. They may be able to see what is causing the issue and provide you with a solution.