Getting enough sleep is a vital part of our well-being along with exercise and nutritious food. Some people seem to think that it is a lifestyle choice, but chronic poor sleep can put you at increased risk of health problems such as cancer, heart disease and depression. However only around 10% of us have clinically diagnosed insomnia, and just 20% of us suffer from sleep problems. Tiredness during the day may actually be the result of something else such as stress, anxiety, boredom or lack of fulfilment.
In fact worrying about not getting enough sleep may actually be part of the problem, especially as we are bombarded by advice that we all need 7-8 hours sleep a night. In fact, anything between 3 and 11 hours is considered ‘normal’ by some experts. I sent out a survey to my social media followers a couple of weeks ago and it had the highest response level of any survey I’ve put out. Clearly many people feel that they have sleep problems; in fact 38% of the respondents said they had sleep problems and 55% said they sometimes had sleep problems.
I thought that most people would say that they had trouble getting to sleep, but the highest complaints were about waking up early and not going back to sleep or waking up several times a night. Most people also seemed to have some idea as to why they had problems sleeping, but 70% said that they felt it was due to stress or not being able to switch off/wind down.
Sleep is certainly essential for better stress management, getting enough sleep can help to reduce your stress levels. But you may not need as many hours as you think. And one long sleep every 24 hours is not the only sleep pattern available- some people also live very successfully by taking naps throughout the day.
By getting your stress under control, you’ll find that it’s easier for your mind and body to relax and fall asleep at night. But of course, many people suffering stress find it hard to get to sleep.
Although there may be a range of causes for your sleep problems, there are probably some solutions that you could implement quite easily.