Is a lack of sleep keeping you awake?
World Sleep Day is an annual campaign and series of events designed to raise awareness of ‘sleep as a human privilege that is often compromised by the habits of modern life’. It also serves as a reminder to us all to prioritise good sleeping habits to safeguard ourselves against physical and mental illness. Cindy Charles, the LWC’s Fertility Coach, provides advice on how to deal with lack of sleep and insomnia when you’re trying to conceive and during fertility treatment.
Lack of sleep
It’s 2.07am and you’re still awake, anxiously working out how many hours and minutes you have left before your alarm jolts you into the demands of the next day. You feel frustrated, anxious and stressed that your body isn’t allowing you to sleep and maybe resentful that others are getting a good night’ sleep with seemingly no problem at all?
However, it may help to know that most people experience problems with sleep at some point in their life. In fact, it's thought that a third of Brits will have episodes of insomnia at some point. The causes can include physical conditions, psychological conditions (such as depression or anxiety) or a combination of both. Lack of sleep can be difficult at any time but particularly so when trying to conceive through fertility treatment when your emotions are already prone to highs and lows and your mind is more sensitive.
Despite the claims of many over the counter remedies and side effect loaded prescriptive medicines, sometimes accepting that your subconscious mind will do its own thing can help to relieve the pressure of trying to ‘fix’ your insomnia. Also, being more compassionate and less demanding of yourself can help to reduce the stress you’re under.
If your sleeplessness does become more acute your GP and a Counsellor can help to investigate any deeper routed medical and psychological issues.
Advice on Insomnia
The NHS website offers some useful advice on insomnia and has a sleep assessment tool to measure the impact of sleeplessness on your wellbeing.
There are several things recommended to get a good night's sleep. These include:
setting regular times for going to bed and waking up
following a bedtime routine
making sure that your bedroom environment is dark, cool and quiet
avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals and exercise close to bedtime
avoiding using bright screens close to bedtime
Giving yourself time to relax each day
writing a list of your worries and possible solutions before bedtime, to help you forget about them until morning.
If your symptoms persist and affect your ability to function on a regular basis, it is recommended that you contact your GP for further advice.
Support at the LWC
As a patient at LWC you are also able to access the support of our Counselling and Patient Support Team to talk through any anxieties you may be facing in your desire to conceive. For more information visit our Fertility Support Hub on the LWC website.