The Great British Sleep Study revealed last year that two thirds of us will suffer from ongoing sleeplessness in our lives. Pain, stress, and even diet could affect our quality of sleep. So what’s keeping you up?
As a general rule, I’m lucky enough to call myself a good sleeper, nodding off easily and enjoying restful nights. But even so, I have the odd night – or stretch of nights – where I cannot sleep for love nor money.
I’ll lie awake tossing and turning, driving my partner to distraction, before switching on the TV and watching re-runs of Countdown. My gift for solving the conundrum with remarkable speed is thanks solely to these early morning viewings.
Why does sleep evade us?
In my case, there is no rhyme or reason for these restless nights, but thankfully they’re few and far between. However, in a study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, only 38% of respondents were classified as ‘good sleepers’. The remainder reported varying levels of ongoing sleep disruption.
There are a huge number of possible causes for sleep loss. These vary from simple lifestyle factors to more grave physical and mental health problems. Here in the Which? office, we blame our sleepless nights on snoring partners, young children, money worries, stress, aches and pains, illnesses, and some even thought that eating cheese before bed caused them to have bad dreams.
And sometimes, you simply catch yourself clock-watching, counting down the hours until you’re up again for work.
When counting sheep won’t work
Unfortunately, there’s little you can do to medically combat the lifestyle issues that keep you awake. For stress-related insomnia, the NHS website recommends identifying and treating the cause, with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and counselling both suggested as treatments.
If your lack of sleep stems from a physical condition, there are a number of over-the-counter treatments available. Additionally, numerous sources online suggest that simple changes, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol and eating a higher protein diet may help.
But does any of it really work? Having spent the last couple of hours navigating the bewildering mass of information online, I’m none the wiser. At Which?, we’re going to investigate what’s keeping people awake at night, and what they can do to banish sleepless nights.
So what’s keeping you up at night? Do you have a fail-safe remedy which sends you to the land of slumber, or are you left watching Countdown too often, like me?