I am always scouring the internet, reading articles and keeping abreast of new developments that may help improve my quality of life, living with Parkinson's. Just like other patients, I have learnt an awful lot in the eight years since diagnosis.
It might seem obvious but always sleep in a darkened room. Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that naturally promotes sleep. Any artificial light after dark can send wake-up messages to the brain.
If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, insomnia can lead to anxiety surrounding sleep. You don't want your negative perception of sleep to create the assumption that every time you try to sleep you won't be able to, so the key here is positive reinforcement.
From showing the world how stoic you are by putting in so much overtime and working at weekends, the new, smarter way to work is to improve your work/life balance, starting from looking after your sleep.
People don't talk about sleep problems, because they're embarrassed; they've accepted it as a perpetual part of their lives and others might treat it as a triviality or selfish indulgence that you choose to yield to - you've made your bed, so now you (can't) lie in it.
A recent report reveals that Sunday night insomnia is an issue for as many as one in four of us. Those afflicted may go to bed early, feel tired and are keen to go off to sleep yet instead lie awake tossing and turning or they drift off to sleep only to awaken in the early hours feeling tired and unrefreshed.
My top tip for when you are still awake at 3am or woke up at 4am knowing sleep just ain't gonna happen is to practise Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep. It's a bit like a guided relaxation or meditation which allows your mind to be guided free of distractions.
One of the most common sleep problems I encounter in my clinic is waking in the early hours - usually between 2am and 4am - then finding it hard to get back to sleep. In the long term, missing out on this vital stage of sleep can be debilitating and even lead to serious health problems.
Sleep has a love hate relationship with many of us. Its benefits cannot be denied: it has been claimed to be linked to weight loss, concentration, mood, attractiveness, long life, memory and overall better health to name a few. But despite knowing some or all of the facts, most people (myself included) find ourselves 'burning the candle at both ends'.
Contrary to statistics that put me in the seventy percent chance of post-natal psychosis, I held my head firmly above water. It wasn't easy, at times the water stank, many times, in fact most of the time, but I wouldn't allow myself - now a mother - to go under.
The emotions of want are heavily related to the emotions of connection, the more we are able to connect with others the less likely we are going to stand out and be alone - sadly this fake reality is something most will live up to, often failing to live life by their own consciously aware path, but more-so to comply with another's ideal of how life should be designed and lived.
Researching and practising sleep techniques with patients has led me to realise that there are a host of practical, highly effective and sustainable strategies that one can adopt, helping avoid a trip to the doctor... Here are ten tried and tested strategies that I have been recommending for years, which have helped patients learn how to sleep again.
It's fair to say I've never slept well. Decades of insomnia, night terrors, sleep walking, sleep talking, sleep apnoea, sleep paralysis and sleep paranoia means, if nothing else, it's a laugh riot sharing a bed with me.
Sleep disruption can affect our health in many ways including increased stress, impaired mental acuity and weakening of the immune system. It is unfortunately often hard for people with poor sleep patterns to easily adjust potentially detrimental aspects of their life, such as work stress, to help remedy this situation.
Our bodies are cleverer than our minds. When we are truly tired, we will fall asleep. Sleeping is a natural action. You don't have to do anything to get to sleep. It is not humanly possible to stay awake forever. The one topic that mustn't be on one's list of worries is sleep itself. That is what can stop you from sleeping and make you ill, both physically and psychologically.
Magnesium, 'nature's tranquiliser', is the one mineral your body can't afford for you to ignore...