We all have times when our ability to sleep is impacted by external factors, or illness.
You may not be sleeping well because of stress, travel, illness, or other temporary interruptions to your routine. If your sleep is disrupted regularly, it can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health, leading to memory problems, weight gain, and impacting your energy, and mood.
How much sleep we need differs from person to person. If you are finding it difficult to wake up in the morning, stay alert during the day, keep up your energy levels all day, or get sleepy as soon as you relax, it indicates that you need more sleep. To function at maximum effectiveness, most healthy adults need around 8 hours of sleep each night.
How can you improve your ability to sleep?
- set regular bedtime and wake-time: go to bed at about the same time every night and try to keep up your regular wake–time even on weekends
- try to make your sleeping space dark and cool. Dim lights, especially those from TV or computer screens as they can confuse the body clock
- stress and worry, or issues that have arisen during the day can make it very difficult to sleep well. Set aside an earlier time to do your worrying - it does not need to be done in bed
- sleep issues can also occur following a natural disaster like earthquakes and aftershocks. In that case, remind yourself that they are a natural after-effect of an earthquake. Tell yourself that you can cope with these. You “managed” the big one and all the others to date, and you will, of course, manage this.
What about a medical or natural remedy to help you get to sleep?
You could try some natural sleep remedies from you pharmacist. If you have tried a variety of self-help remedies without success and if you think that you need medical intervention to help you sleep, see your Doctor.
How to help your children who are having sleep issues?
- causes of sleep issues in children might be due to night-time fears or nightmares
- try to understand your child’s fears, and don't dismiss or make fun of them
- it is important to reassure your child if they are afraid
- let them know they are safe
- teach your child coping skills and discuss alternative ways to respond, such as "being brave", and thinking positive thoughts; you can also talk about how you deal with something that you are afraid of.
- help your child become attached to a security object, that they can keep in bed with them. This can help your child feel more relaxed at bedtime and throughout the night.