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What if you just can not sleep?

Tom Bradby of ITV was forced to take a nap for sleep. Two fellow sufferers from Northern Ireland tell Leona O'Neill about the effects of nocturnal alertness on their health – and how they cope.

We all know the effects that a bad night's sleep can have on our day. Restless nights lead to exhausted and irritable days.

For most of us, it's a temporary surprise and our body watches are back in snooze mode within a day or two.

But for millions of others, insomnia is a night wasting that creeps into every aspect of their lives.

ITV News presenter Tom Bradby recently stopped work for five weeks for his debilitating insomnia, leading him to fail to present News at Ten. Friends of the 51-year-old have said that the journalist recover at home due to a bad attack of insomnia.

Insomnia can be isolated or a symptom of other conditions such as stress, anxiety or depression.

Here, two Northern Irish people tell Leona O'Neill about their experience with the disease.

& # 39; It got me back on a bad path and it scared me a lot & # 39;

Londonderry youth worker Stephen Whoriskey (34) says anxiety and depression led him to suffer from insomnia. The father of four and the stepfather of two say that during bad attacks of insomnia, he fears that the severe depression – during a previous episode from which he has almost taken his life – will regain full force.

"I started to suffer from anxiety depression about six years ago," he says. "I was living in Newcastle, England, making a bad break and trying to kill myself.

" Luckily someone came to me in time. The problem of going to sleep began at that time. But it was restless sleep and wake up at night, not insomnia. Two years ago, insomnia started. It started with restlessness and four times at night. But after about four days, it did not settle for more than an hour or two each night.

"I went through six months of sleep no more than two hours a night." My wife and friends said they could not. I do not understand how I survived with so little sleep, it had a very negative effect on my mental Health and because of the dark place I had gone before, I did not want to go back there, and I sought help from a GP.

"I was put on antidepressants, but the doctor told me that the lack of sleep me would not kill. I sensed that it had something in it. If I had not gone and asked for help, it might have come back to this point, it could have driven me nuts, it could have killed me.

"I fought because I was tired all day, I was small with my wife, I was small with my kids and I felt really bad about how my attitude had changed.

" I was mental Well arrived and the insomnia had sent me back on a bad path That really scared me.

Stephen says he often sees the dog running at 4 am to fight insomnia.

"I can go through two or three months in which I can sleep and then back to routine, not to sleep, "he says. At my lowest ebb, after months of little sleep, I really thought that my depression would come to fruition. I could feel myself falling into a hole.

"Your body needs to rest, it needs this downtime to recover and I did not understand that, even now I'm awake at 4am and at this time of morning I come Not at all day, it's always early in the morning, this dog was my escape for the past three years, I could not be without him. "

Stephen says after trying everything to sleep a good night, he found that meditation could sometimes alleviate the problem.

"Whenever I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression, my doctor gave me diazepam to help me sleep at night," he says. "Taking tablets made me terrible, I already took antidepressants, which left me empty most of the time, trying to stay away from medication." I have been doing martial arts for 24 years and find that meditation helps me. It's about the breathing techniques and about clearing my head and focusing on my breath. Some nights that help me, other nights nothing.

And he has this advice for others who fight crippling insomnia.

"If you go to a doctor and tell them insomnia will not kill you, right?" "I believe them," he says. "Lack of sleep is a very dangerous thing, because it puts you in a deep mood and if you have depression or anxiety that a lot of people do, then lack of sleep will give you more time to deal with things

For more information and help with insomnia, log on to www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/

'If you are mentally exhausted, that will affect you on everything.

Emmette Dillon is 30 years old and comes from Londonderry times when he survived two hours a day and shifts only aggravated his condition.

"I work in healthcare and have been working night shifts since I was about 19," he says. "And in this profession, your sleep pattern tends to be off balance, especially if you work several nights in a row.

" There can be a temptation to just get up when you're gone. People say that shift schedules really do not help because you have to force yourself to sleep. I think it's more that if you're a problematic sleeper, you're just that. Supporting factors like anxiety and depression – with which I lived for a long time have – really made it for me. You try to sleep but you can & # 39; Because of your mind, and when you wake up in the middle of the night, your brain is active and thoughts come up again, you can not fall asleep again.

Emmette says his condition worsened after suffering a brain injury when he was attacked in Belfast in 2017.

"Last year, I had a traumatic brain injury," he says. "I was attacked in Belfast and had four bleeding in my brain. I also had a concussion, which meant I felt sick every time I lay down, so I had to sleep while sitting down.

"I may have had two hours of sleep night, and I'm not someone who can sleep during the day, because as soon as I see the light, I'm awake, that was the worst time, but even now there are nights when I have to I'm still awake at 4 am I just stay in bed and hope to fall asleep again, but it's frustrating.

"I went to the doctor and prescribed benzodiazepine, a drug that's supposed to have a calming effect and help you feel better to relax. The drug is very addictive and therefore, if you go to the doctor with insomnia, you only get three days of tablets. Because of my neurological history, they did not work at all. The Only Things That Really Helped Me Sleeping conditions were exercise and meditation music and night-time applications, as well as that I did not use my phone half an hour before bedtime.

Emmette says that nothing worked for him when his insomnia was worst. [196592002] "It was more of a mental distraction," he says. "I've tried everything to help. I would go for a walk. Some people say that reading at night can help insomnia, but I found that could be counterproductive. Reading something that interests you means that your mind is still processing. "When your brain processes information, it does not slow down and sleepy."

"My doctor advocated a healthy bedtime routine, unwinding, going for a walk, getting some fresh air

Emmette has this advice for other insomniacs who, like him, are awake early in the morning.

"I think that people who sleep poorly have to pay attention to things that their own Sleep affects how stress, and try to eliminate it, "he says. And even keep track of their diet, especially caffeine.

"I think people should keep a sleep diary to record how bad things really are GP, he or she only has about 10 minutes to talk to you and you must have written everything down Point comes where it affects your mood and relationships, then you should talk to your doctor about it.

"Insomnia is a big problem, worsened by the excessive use of electronic devices and social media usage in the evenings and binge watch things like box sets.

"I think when you're mentally tired, you look bad, your eating habits go crazy and it affects everything, but one thing that might work for one person might not work for another."

"For me, somewhere nice to walk during the day, in nature can help. I found meditation apps that can play the sounds of rain are really helpful to help me fall asleep. And thinking about what's going on and what stressors are there and eliminating them works for me as well.

He adds, "There are countless studies on the risk factors of broken sleep and bad mood Many parents of toddlers will tell you that they can drive people into a really unstable state of mind. People need to take it seriously and seek help. "

Fighting to sleep … seven helpful Tips for a better night's sleep

Beware of electronic devices Sleep experts believe that the blue light from the screens sends a signal to our brain that it's still daylight, one Instead, create energy boost and block the melatonin that makes us sleepy Instead, make sure to create a charging station in another room to power your devices overnight instead of your bedroom, and turn off all the screens one hour before bedtime Do not use this thriller on your tablet – try an old-fashioned printed book instead.

Instead of relying on your phone to wake you up in the morning, go back to a real alarm clock.

Make a point of getting out of hand Treat yourself to a warm bath, listen to music or practice meditation or yoga, some people think n that the use of bath salts helps to relax the muscles.

Avoid heavy meals at bedtime because the energy your body needs to digest the meal keeps you awake. Opt for a small low-carbohydrate sleeping bag with low protein content, such as juice and biscuits. Studies suggest that foods rich in the amino acid L-Tryptophan can also help you get good sleep – try hot or hot milk, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, turkey, and cashew nuts.

Gentle, soothing music can promote sleep. Some people listen to music that has been specially composed to induce sleep or the sounds of waves that break rhythmically, or the steady pattern of a heartbeat.

Establishing a routine is a good idea. This means that weekend lie-ins are off, even if you're desperately looking for peace. Try to get up at the same time every day, including weekends and holidays.

Fall asleep on your back, which is the best place to relax, and allow all your internal organs to rest properly. If you need to sleep on your side, do it on your right side. As you sleep on the left side, your lungs, stomach and liver push against your heart.

Belfast Telegraph

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