Already a member? Login

311,468 Members and growing Join Now for FREE

Why Join Blackmores?

Become a member get involved in Blackmores active and informative, health and wellbeing communities.

Members Wellbeing Goals

What do you want to achieve? Motivate yourself and others to better health.

try to get a pregenant, and have a healthy bby Yifan

Happy Happy Sok Nei

To lose weight Jessyanne

Learn about supplements Jody

be less than 13stone 82.5 kg by 31 Jan '15 William

Set your goal Prev | Next

Blackmores Community Forum

Join health discussions, share experiences and get wellbeing tips and advice. Start a discussion now.

View all

How to beat sleep-maintenance insomnia

4 June 2013

You wake up at 3am, mind racing. One hour passes. Then two. If this happens regularly enough, you may have sleep-maintenance insomnia.

Was this helpful?
  • Add to bookmarks

No trouble falling asleep, but difficulty great deal of trouble staying asleep: Harvard Medical School (HMS) in the US describes this as ‘sleep-maintenance’ insomnia.

If it lasts for less than three months, your insomnia is classified as ‘acute’ says Northumbria University in the UK – noting that in the British population, between 31 and 36 per cent of people are likely to fall into this category over the course of a given year. Sleep-maintenance insomnia more commonly occurs in women than men. And older rather than young people are more likely to become sufferers.

Here’s why, according to Harvard Medical School: 

  • Women in midlife are more vulnerable to psychological stress
  • Hot flushes compound a woman’s inability to sleep
  • In older age, the normal sleep cycle becomes shorter, and we spend less time in deep sleep.

“Whatever the original causes,” writes HMS, “difficulty staying asleep often gives rise to worry over not getting enough sleep, and a vicious cycle develops in which this worry itself becomes the main source of insomnia.”
Fortunately, calming worry is something you can address.

Stay away from caffeine and alcohol after 2 pm if you’re caffeine-sensitive

It’ll only make your mind race. “Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical thought to promote sleep,” says HMS.

And have no more than one alcoholic drink a day, preferably taken at least two hours before bedtime. “Alcohol interferes with deep sleep and can interfere with breathing,” HMS says. 

Keep a sleep diary
HMS writes: “A 2010 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that compared with good sleepers, poor sleepers were more likely to believe, for example, that they needed eight hours of sleep to function; that they couldn't function the next day if they didn't have enough sleep; and that they couldn't cope with the consequences of disturbed sleep.”

To promote the idea of sleep efficiency, keep a sleep diary. HMS advises that if you're spending less than 80 per cent of your time in bed asleep, you're probably spending too much time in bed.

Test out a ‘sleep restriction’ strategy

To establish a more restorative sleep pattern, work out how much sleep you actually need (via your sleep diary) in order to feel your best.

Though eight hours is the general figure we’re all familiar with, later in life you may be okay with six – just experiment and see.
HMS describes the technique of sleep restriction:

“If you get six hours and you need to wake up at 6 am, then don't go to bed until midnight — even if you feel sleepy before then… When you've been able to sleep most of your allotted six hours for five to seven days, go to bed 15 minutes earlier, repeating the process until you reach optimal sleep efficiency: 85 per cent or more of your time in bed spent sleeping.
This technique, called sleep restriction, may at first make you feel sleep-deprived, but it can be very effective if you stick with it, while also continuing other efforts to improve sleep, including sleep hygiene…

If you find that you're falling asleep too early in the evening, keep the lights up bright where you're sitting or working. This can slow the release of the hormone melatonin, which rises when it's dark, promoting sleep, and falls when it's light, promoting wakefulness.”

Did you know?
Older adults are more resilient in the face of sleep deprivation than young adults are, according to research presented at a meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in the US.
 
In the small study, older adults (ages 59-82 years) bounced back better from total sleep deprivation than did young adults (ages 19-38 years) on a range of cognitive performance measures.

References available on request

Comment

Male Female

I have read and agree to Blackmores Terms of use


* Your post may appear online after a member of the Blackmores Online Team has reviewed it.

Notification

Your post is pending approval

Your post has been sent to a Blackmores Administrator for approval as it contains words or phrases that may not comply with our Posting Guidelines and Terms of Service. A Blackmores Administrator will review your post to determine whether or not it can be published.

You will be notified via email when your post is published or if it has been declined.

For further information about what can and can't be discussed within the Blackmores Community, please view our Terms of Service and Posting Guidelines.

X
  • Add to bookmarks
Default tooltip content in here
Del.ic.ious Facebook MySpace Digg Twitter