A Guide To Insomnia
Can't sleep? Me neither, but what causes the insomnia that so many of us suffer from?
Insomnia is a condition that affects a wide range of people, and is defined as several days without a peaceful night's sleep. Unfortunately, as the pressures of exams, bullying, relationships and life in general become harder to cope with, we teenagers are more likely to miss out on the precious sleep we need.
Sleeplessness can be caused by so many different things that it's hard to know what you need to do to deal with it. Depression, stress and physical pain can all be contributing factors; but there's loads of things you can do to improve your night's rest.
By controlling your breathing you will have something to focus on, rather than concentrating on whatever worries are going round in your head. Breathing deeply is great for relaxation, so breathe in whilst counting to 5, and out again whilst counting to 5. Now do the same counting to 4, then 3, then 2, and then 1. Keep repeating this, and you should drop off to sleep after a while. If you don't actually get to sleep don't worry - you should feel relaxed, which will help for when your body decides it's ready to sleep.
Herbs and Vitamin supplements
Scientists have found that taking B Vitamins can help you relax, and therefore, go to sleep easier - Calcium also does this as well. Magnesium has the effect of calming your muscles, which will help you sleep - there is no point even going up to bed if you feel tense! You can get supplements from your local pharmacy or health food shops like Holland and Barrett. Remember to take a parent along to help you choose the best one, and to ensure you get served.
The herb, lavender is proven to have a calming effect, so I have little pots of lavender gel in my room, which I found in Asda for about £3. You can also try lavender candles or oils, which you can get in all sorts of places quite cheaply. Other sedative herbs like passiflora and camomile are often found in aromatherapy oils, so treat yourself to a couple of drops in a nice hot bath, about 1/2 an hour before you go to bed.
Diet and Exercise
Everyone knows that drinks like tea and coffee contain caffeine, which will keep you awake. Try not to drink high levels of caffeine at least 3 hours before you go to bed, so that you have plenty of time to get it out of your system. A hot milky drink will aid relaxation, so try a mug of warm milk before you put the light out. Alcohol seems to relax you, but it will eventually disrupt your sleeping patterns even more, so don't make a habit of drinking it to get to sleep!
Exercise late in the afternoon or early evening is brilliant for relaxing you, as well as keeping you fit, so try a few gentle stretches, some swimming or a quick game of footie at about 5pm. Remember not to pump that iron too late, because the endorphins that make you feel good after exercising will keep you hyper and ready for action, rather than a snooze!
If you really feel that you have tried everything and nothing has worked, you might want to consider sleeping tablets. It's a good idea to consult your doctor before going ahead, to see if they have any further suggestions, because some sleeping tablets can leave you with a headache or feeling drowsy the next morning. A lot of over-the-counter sleeping tablets are not recommended for use by under 16's, so try out some herbal remedies first.
For more information on insomnia and sleeping remedies, why not check out http://www.sleepnet.com