Posted by: | 2019/08/07


Struggling to sleep

I battle to fall asleep after waking up at around 2 am almost every night. So, if it is destructive to just lie in bed awake, is this the reason why I can never sleep well? If you get up and do something because you can't sleep, doesn't the light change your brain activity so that you can forget to fall asleep again?

Expert's Reply


Depression expert
- 2019/08/13

An interesting question.  There are many possible factors that can interfere with our sleep.  You'll find much useful material online, dealing with such things as Sleep Hygiene : how to promote good sleep.  Surprisingly simple things can make a major difference.  For instance, people often drink stimulating drinks : coffee, tea, cola, etc too late in the day. If you're having sleep problems, don't drink these after around 4 pm, as they can disturb sleep. 
Alcohol might seem like a good idea, and is a popular remedy : but though it might help you to get to sleep, it is metabolized quite quickly, so it wears off and you tend to bounce back awake around 2 or 3 am.
Be cautious about sleeping pills : its easy to become dependent on them, and then when you try to stop or cut down on them, you sleep much worse.
The advice about getting up when you find yourself stuck awake, can be good.  Just lying in bed fretting and worrying makes for really bad sleep.  Better to get up and maybe go to a different room, and do something soothing : read a book, watch some dull TV, nibble some biscuits, do something that distracts you from worrying about not sleeping, but without arousing you too much.  In time you'll feel drowsy, and then return to bed and snooze.   You can't force yourself to go to sleep : the harder you try to do this, the more awake you become.  In fact, some folks report that if they give up and actually try to stay awake, they soon become drowsy. 

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