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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why cant I sleep?

    Hi,

    I am trying to work out why I cant sleep. In my situation I cant fall a sleep. I have changed my pillows, I have added a memory foam underlay to my bed.

    I don't drink or smoke and I have no work or family stresses.

    I have ensured my bedroom is dark with no light shining through in the bedroom. I turn of the television before I go to bed about 1/2 an hour before hand and ensure I have a shower to relax me.

    why cant I fall asleep?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2

    Thanks

    Jessica Cole

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am registered and endorsed as a Clinical Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia, having completed a Bachelor of Psychology at University of Western … View Profile

    Will and Shannon have posed some really great questions to help you look into why you might not be sleeping. I would just like to add a little more information about how insomnia works to help make a little more sense of the difficulty you are having with your sleep.

    Often with insomnia we can link back to a trigger that started a period of difficult sleep. For some this may be a stressful period (which may have led to more worry and tension and thus disturbed sleep), jet lag, being physically unwell etc.  When this happens our body gets into a new sleep pattern. This means that now when we head to bed, our body doesn’t just associate bed with sleep, it associates going to bed with LYING THERE AWAKE and sleep.

    In order for our body to settle back into a good routine we need to strengthen the association between going to bed and actually sleeping. There are a number of effective evidence based strategies including Stimulus Control therapy and Bed Time Restriction technique which can be very helpful. If you find you are still not having much luck with your sleep I would encourage you to speak to a clinical psychologist about your treatment options. Often we find that once we start psychological treatment of insomnia, sleep settles back into a good routine relatively quickly.

    Feel free to get in touch if you would like any further information. 

  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    It is great that you are aware that good sleep hygiene (eg: dark room) is important for sleep. It may also be worth considering the type/amount of food you are having before bed and what time you are exercising (try morning exercise). Having a shower a bit before bed can assist in sleep because of the temperature/hormonal changes it can bring about. You may also wish to try magnesium powder at night.

    All the best!

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Apart from good sleep hygiene, which the other contributors have mentioned, I use what is sometimes called Progressive Muscle Relaxation - this means tensing and then relaxing each of the muscle groups in my body.

    I do it lying in bed, starting with my toe muscles and moving up to my facial muscles though the order does not matter.

    There is an account of it here: http://www.painmanagement.org.au/progressive-muscle-relaxation .

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