Sleep Issues – How much do I need? Types of Insomnia….
During this series I will be posting ideas, thoughts, strategies and options around Sleep. We all know how important sleep is and it is often the first thing to slip when we are under pressure or generally not feeling on top of our lives. I will try and post some practical strategies as well as general information about how you can best address this area of your life.
So…… how much sleep do we need? This varies from person to person. Some people need as little as 3-4 hours whilst others require as much as 10 hours. The key factor is whether you wake up feeling relatively refreshed and you are able to function reasonably well in your daily life.
Sleep needs also vary at different stages in your life. A baby starts life needing 16 hours or so of sleep each day, young child require around 9-10 hours, teenagers prefer different sleep cycles often and the time we need for sleep decreases as we get older. Particularly older adults may only need 4-6 hours a night. Similarly, situational factors may influence your sleep i.e. having a young baby will inevitably mean less sleep and poorer quality sleep. Illness often impacts on sleep as does occasional stressors i.e. deadlines that require you to remain awake later in order to reach that deadline and so on. It is also possible that you are getting more sleep than you realize. It is not uncommon for people to complain of sleepless nights, when in fact they are getting as much as 6 hours of light, intermittent sleep.
Reflect on your sleep habits over the past few weeks. Most people report they don’t feel they get enough sleep – how would your rate your sleep patterns?
Identify Your Insomnia Type
- Do you have difficulty falling asleep?
- Do you fall asleep, only to wake up a couple of hours later and then find it difficult to fall back asleep?
- Do you sleep for 4-5 hours and then wake up too early in the morning?
You might find it useful to keep a “sleep journal” to record what is actually happening for you .
Often our recollections the morning after are hazy and inaccurate whereas at the time they are likely to be more accurate.
Try recording the thoughts that run though your head when you can’t sleep, how you feel and how your body feels? What do you do when you can’t sleep? These are all important insights which will help find a solution to the problem.