Things I Wish I’d Known

Horrible photo alert! Wired up for the sleep clinic. I’ve no idea how you are expected to sleep ‘normally’ in this get up! Plus, it was a very hot night!

Don’t take sleep for granted!

Keep positive! I know I keep saying it but it’s true. Poor sleep is as frustrating as being lost in a maze. Work logically, eliminate things that aren’t working for you, implement new ideas and give them time to work. I’d say try things for 2 weeks and give them a fair chance.

Your mantra should be, I will sleep!  Use EFT (Tapping) and tap this mantra for several minutes throughout the day and before you go to bed.

Sorting your sleep out is a bit like losing weight i.e. it didn’t happen overnight (excuse the pun) and you won’t necessarily, fix it overnight.

Make prescribed sleep medication a very last resort. Once you embark on this route they just muddy the water and cause more issues.

Related to the above don’t give up your sleep management to the medical profession. Work with your G.P to find solutions; when you’re exhausted it’s easy to expect them to sort you out – it’s probably not going to happen if you do. Why? Because your G.P. has probably not experienced persistent sleep problems. Although, they have experience of sleep deprivation given the hours that junior doctors are expected to work they probably collapsed exhausted and slept once they were off shift. There was a reason why they were tired which was excessive work hours; the reason that you aren’t sleeping is probably very different.  But keep your G.P. on side, their support is invaluable.

Referrals to sleep clinics are generally done through the NHS, there are few private ones, so even if you see a specialist privately who says that he will refer you it will be a referral to an NHS clinic.  The waiting lists are long and you are probably going to be wired up at home, as I was on the photograph on the left, before you are admitted to a sleep room overnight.  I waited 8 months before I got my results too, so be prepared that you may not find out what's happening to you anytime soon.

Sleep problems start slowly, insomnia appears over a protracted period of time. Be vigilant – don’t keep on ignoring disturbed sleep. You will know if this problem isn’t going away. By the same token avoid being over precious about your sleep. It’s a very fine balance, I would say follow your intuition.

Women are more likely to suffer than men. Is it because we tend to worry more and struggle to switch off? Find ways to give your poor brain a break – meditation, massage, Reiki etc. are great ways to wind down.

Some people are more emotionally affected, than others, by what's going on in the world, if this is you don't watch the news just before you go to bed.  It sounds a bit silly, but I can worry about anything and watching shocking images on the T.V. before I try to settle down for the night doesn't do me or the poor people involved any good.  Similarly, if you know something has upset you on an earlier program don't keep watching it or reading about it.  Keep yourself informed just not last thing at night! 

Invest in good ear plugs and an eye mask.

If your partner snores and, it’s practical sleep separately for a while when you feel your sleep going. Your brain becomes so hyper-vigilant that the slightest thing will distract you. Think long-term not short term.