Ah, sleep. The thing all of us want more of. It’s pretty evident by now how much sleep affects us. Well, the lack of it more so. In a world where everything is on the go 24/7, it’s not surprising the same goes for our minds and bodies when we’re trying to get some shut eye at the end of a long day.
Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash
West Yorkshire based mattress and bed manufacturer, bets.net conducted a recent survey to discover exactly what keeps Brits up at night:
- 73% of respondents are kept awake by stress (unsurprising)
- 34% of respondents are kept awake by an uncomfortable bed or mattress (again, unsurprising)
- 2.4% of respondents are kept awake by ghosts (I mean… make of that one what you will)
They also found that those who live in London are the most poorly slept – having lived near London my whole life, this isn’t a surprise to me one bit – due to noisy neighbors mostly (and noisy pets).
As amusing as some of the findings are, the fact is, BRITS ARE NOT SLEEPING. And it’s a problem. Because you know… sleep is important? One of my favourite quotes is, “you have enough energy for one day at a time”. And with our ongoing sleep problems, we’re sometimes lacking energy for 3 hours, let alone a day.
So what keeps ME up at night?
I’m certainly not exempt from sleep problems. Although I rarely have trouble actually FALLING asleep, I certainly have trouble staying asleep. I honestly can’t remember the last time I slept through the entire night from beginning to end. Waking up 4 or 5 times a night is just the norm for me now. But let’s get into some specifics:
If my boyfriend can’t sleep: This is one thing that generally does give me trouble with actually falling asleep and that’s knowing if my boyfriend can’t sleep. I have the luxury of working from home but he has to commute into London and has long ass days. So for him, not being able to sleep is a problem. I’m a hugely empathetic person so if he can’t sleep, neither can I.
Needing to pee: I need to pee ALL THE TIME. And since I’ve been on a new medication for my anxiety which it’s main side effect is a dry mouth, I am drinking ALL THE TIME too. So I’m just a pee machine at this point. It’s really annoying. And I’m really fed up of getting up to wee a hundred times a night.
Monkey mind: I’m lucky in that I’m always very productive in my day to day life and often have a lot of ideas swimming around my head. But that becomes a bit of a pain when it’s time to go to sleep and I’m still thinking about work or Christmas gift ideas or places I want to go.
Anticipation: Either from nerves or excitement, if there’s something going on the following that I’m anticipating – say I’m going on holiday or I have a doctors appointment – that usually plays on my mind for various reasons and keeps me up at night.
Having to get up early: This is without a doubt the most annoying one on this list and that’s when I know I have to get up early the next morning, usually when my boyfriend and I are going away somewhere, I can never sleep the night before and I end up waking up cranky and exhausted the next morning.
What do I do to help?
Well actually, I wrote a blog post earlier this year about a new night-time routine I had adopted which actually helped massively with my sleep. But I have no will-power and can’t commit to anything so that routine is currently out the window. However, I do still have some techniques which help me get a better night sleep:
Writing everything down / tomorrow’s to-do list: This helps the monkey mind problem as it gets things out of my head and written down so I don’t have to worry about forgetting the things I was thinking about the night before.
Giving thanks and expressing gratitude for the day: I know this one will sound a bit hippy dippy to some but I’ve found myself doing this a LOT this year. And it really does help me. I love acknowledging the day, what went well and all the things I’m grateful for. Doing that kind of gives me closure for the day and allows me to focus on rest.
Not looking at my phone too much: Screens themselves don’t bother me too much. I actually love going to sleep whilst a film is on in the background or my boyfriend is playing PlayStation. But I try and not look at my phone and get sucked into the endless scrolling. Which definitely prevents me sleeping.
Yoga in the evening: This definitely helps. And I find it so relaxing too. I love doing a short, gentle Yoga practice late at night before I go to bed as it really helps settle my body and mind.
What keeps YOU up at night? Do you struggle with any of the same things as me? And what do you do to combat the restless and sleepless nights?
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I am terrible at worrying so that’s often what keeps me up! Also I hear you about needing to pee(!), that’s usually me too.
There’s just something about the dark and quiet that wakes the mind up.
I tend not to sleep well on a Sunday night ahead of my Monday early alarm. It’s totally in my head but I lie there thinking about so much it stops me sleeping.
I get that sometimes too when I’m focused so much on getting to sleep that I can’t sleep!
Sundays are the worst for me, that fear of work the next day!
I am terrible for worrying, I worry about such silly stuff and it can keep me up all night!
100% down to stress for me! My mind just gets carried away – it can be one tiny little thought that causes me to stay awake! I’ve found it helps to keep a notepad by my bed so if there’s loads of stuff racing in my mind I can get it out, and I also won’t look at any social media/emails once I’m in bed. The amount of times I’ve lost sleep over some crappy article or someone’s status on Facebook is insane and I’ve noticed that it’s really made a difference! Xx
Pain and snoring keep me awake, that and a mattress that has definitely seen better days! 🙂
Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip || Latest Post
I’m thinking that ghosts need to up their game if they only manage to keep 2.4% of us awake… I have a really hard time with sleep as I get sleep paralysis and have awful nightmares. I get into a really horrible cycle of feeling anxious about the nightmares, which then makes my sleep worse and usually… causes more nightmares. Being scared to sleep is horrible! But I’ve also started using gratitude journals and trying to have a better bedtime routine and it’s really helping!
Agreed haha! Ugh sleep paralysis sounds terrifying!
I have the complete opposite problem! It isn’t unusual for it to take me hours and hours to fall asleep but once I’ve (finally) nodded off, I’m a really solid sleeper. I wish I could find something that made it easier to fall asleep though x
I really want to get a new mattress as I struggle getting comfy sometimes xx
Sleep is so important, and sometimes I could cry at how little I get – the worst thing about my bad sleep habits is that if I wake up an hour and half or less before my alarm I just don’t fall back asleep, it’s like my mind is going “hat’s the point?”
You have some great tips here, I think generally being more mindful is great for easing off into sleep easier.
Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/
I do that too! It’s the MOST annoying thing ever! x
Very good tips! I’m usually okay at falling asleep, but one thing that does keep me up is when I have to be asleep by a certain time – I worry that I won’t get to sleep in time and then I miss it, and then I’m just up worrying about not sleeping!
Oh I get that too it’s so annoying! x
I need these tips so much! I really struggle with sleeping so need help to get me sleepy! Thanks for these! x
Daisy xoxo TheDeeWhoLived
You’re welcome x
Oh this is so helpful! I sleep much worse now but that’s mainly because of Joshua. I long for the night I sleep alllll the way through again. xx
Although I guess there’s some good reasons to be awake!
Story ideas keep me up at night. I am all cosy, everything done for the day, and an idea hits me. I can stay up for hours wandering in a world far away from my own, bothered by not having pen and paper at my side, and not willing to creep out from under the blankets to fetch some!
Without fail, I do not remember the story in the morning. 🙂
Oh it’s so annoying when you have such a good idea then can’t remember it in the morning!
There are nights I can’t sleep either. Some nights my mind wanders or I have anxiety keeping me awake. Other nights I wake up every 2 hours to pee. I do watch videos or write on my phone while. I know it’s bad but I can’t help it. It helps me relax before I want to sleep.
Waking up every 2 hours to pee… I feel that!
I’ve actually just bought blue light blocking glasses to wear while I’m working to see if that helps me get a better night’s sleep. Got to be worth a try haha x
Ooh I’ve heard about those!
I’m lucky in that I am able to sleep through the night most of the time, unless I’m stressed or going on holiday and I keep going through the packing list over and over again in my head! My biggest problem is probably too much screen time in the evening, I’m finding it hard to put my phone down.
Overall, I found your post really informative – I’ve never actually tried yoga before and now I’m thinking that I probably should!
Dominika | http://www.intothebloom.com
I’ve always been a light sleeper so I need to have a dark, perfectly temperate room with silence and no one moving or snoring lol. I’m basically the princess with all the peas!
Oh goodness haha! A room that’s too hot is really hard to sleep in though, I agree.
I have insomnia and I found this post so super helpful Jenny! I think stress is a big one for me x
Ah sorry to hear that! Stress can play a huge part x
I’m exactly the same as you in that I’ll fall asleep so easily but staying asleep isn’t as straight forward – anticipation gets me the worst! But I have absolutely zero bedtime routine and probably too much screen time. Will definitely be trying your tips especially yoga as I’ve been meaning to get into that anyway so seems like an ideal place to start 💖
I have loads of Yoga related posts if you need any guidance! x
Amazing!! I’ll definitely check them out thanks! 💖
Oh amazing thank you – I’ll definitely check them out 💖
I’m the same in that I always have ideas flying round my head! I mean for me currently my dog I think is going through the terrible twos aha won’t stop waking me up with a squeaky toy or leaping on me to play at 3 am very annoying!
Oh my goodness what a nightmare! x
Yes it’s so good to see more people talking about sleep!
As an interesting aside, I was surprised to find that most of the long term health consequences of insufficient sleep are the same as the health risk factors of obesity.
I honestly feel that societally we are targeting the wrong “problem” and a focus on sleep over weight would create a healthier and happier world!
Stress is a big one for me. I mostly have problems getting to sleep and bizarrely it’s not that I’m not drowsy in the evening so most sleepers don’t work for me, I just seem to be missing that “off” switch.
Pain is another one for me – since I was recently physically unwell and spent a few days in bed, I’ve been finding I get hip pain when I try to sleep.
Periodically I get into really good routines but mine is way off at the moment. The social worker I met yesterday noted that my home situation is one factor impacting my sleep because I am waiting for Mom (and Dad but mainly mom) to go to bed so I can cook or prep food, and clean my teeth etc which means it’s then very late by the time I get to bed.
I definitely need to get back into my yoga and candle lit journalling bedtime routine – hopefully once my mental health levels off again I’ll manage to get back there.
I get hip pain too – it’s a nightmare sometimes. So painful. I think there’s a lot of factors that can go hand in hand; lack of sleep, too much stress, lack of nutrition, which could lead to obesity. There’s definitely no point just focusing on one when the root cause needs to be addressed too x
Anxiety always keeps me up at night and it sucks!
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
Sorry to hear that! x
Hi Jenny, nice post. I do the old gratitude thing at the end of the day too. I often listen to a podcast (history or mindfulness) to see me of easily. My problem is choosing not to go to bed- a sense of fomo, not wanting the day to end (as a night owl, i love nighttime, it’s my me time).
I work on enticing myself to bed with the wisdom of knowing that i need to go earlier rather than later to keep myself well.
I definitely understand the FOMO thing. Although I love my sleep, if I’ve had a good day, I sometimes don’t want it to end!
I am up every single night at 2 am! Sometimes it’s to pee, sometimes I can hear owls outside, sometimes the dog has decided to sit on me (he weighs 45 to 50kg!). Bonus points if my partner has started a full blow conversation in his sleep! I’m definitely going to try swapping my yoga into the evenings, and journaling at the end of the day rather than trying to remember yesterday each morning. Hopefully I’ll at least make it to 3am haha!
Goodness me, it’s a wonder you get any sleep at all haha!x
Loved reading through this post! Those are some really helpful tips at the end, I definitely need to start writing my thoughts down at the end of the night and write some to-do lists – my brain goes into overdrive at night!
Kate | http://www.katelovesx.co.uk
Writing things down definitely helps with that, I’d highly recommend it! x
Anxiety and general outside noise keep me up at night x
I am fully aware that I don’t get nearly enough sleep. I’m the kind of person who struggles to go to bed if I’m in the middle of a big project because my mind is racing 90 miles/hr, however, many of the projects I’ve recently taken on aren’t a one day project… it’s a bit of a recipe for disaster lol
Oh no! Hope you can find a way around that! x
My brain seems to come alive at night which is so annoying! When I just want to drop off, that’s when I feel my most productive. Not going on my phone past a certain time usually helps me get a better night’s sleep though! xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
Haha same sometimes! But sometimes I can’t help but go on my phone because if I think of anything I don’t want to forget, I need to write it down on my phone! x
One of the things that keeps me up at night is definitely having a restless mind. I’m constantly thinking about the next day or about what to write next for my blog!
Same! My blog takes up a LOT of my thoughts! x
I like to use chamomile tea to help me sleep. Rather than drink the tea (because it will make me have to pee even more than I already do) I have a small crocheted pouch that I tuck a tea bag inside. Then I place it on my pillow or inside of my pillow case where I can smell the chamomile (a from of aroma therapy). A tea bag will last a long time this way.
This is super useful. I used to be a restless sleeper as well but it got better. I enjoy writing a diary before bed, so I am glad you mentioned it. I also turn my phone off during the night to avoid staring at the clock should I wake up. Great article 🙂
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