The Daily Mail this week reported how Team GB Olympic swimmer Lizzie Simmonds has suffered from insomnia since she was 12. Attributing her trouble sleeping to an irregular sleeping pattern as a youngster with early morning training sessions, she never really been able to leave the restlessness behind.
I have been a bad sleeper as long as I can remember, but it was exacerbated by my younger swimming years. I used to get up to train at 4am but only four times a week. I’d be up at four one morning, then at 11 the next, so I was alternating between having two or three hours’ sleep one night to having 11 or 12 the next night.
The article makes you consider a couple of things. Firstly there’s a growing sense of pride and anticipation as July draws ever closer. Despite its apparent adversities, Team GB (swimming) is going to ‘smash’ it at the Olympics. As Lizzie rightly says, she’s got the upper hand, many athletes will be nervous before their events and susceptible to uneasy nights, but Lizzie’s got this in the bag. She’s used to dealing with irregular sleep and can perform well under any condition.
Secondly, we throw the word insomnia around a lot, but what what are the defining characteristics of this condition? Is it as simple as finding it a little difficult to switch off, or is there a more sinister underlying set of symptoms? How little sleep does one have to endure to classify themselves as an insomniac?
According to Wikipedia, Insomnia is simply: an individual’s report of sleeping difficulties.…insomnia is often defined as a positive response to either of two questions: “Do you experience difficulty sleeping?” or “Do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, then join the 1 in 3 Brits currently under treatment for a variety of sleeping disorders. What needs to be ascertained is whether your sleeping issues are in fact primary insomnia- not attributable to a medical, psychiatric, or environmental cause, or if there is something that you can do, whether it be change your bedtime routine or lifestyle, to alleviate any symptoms.
The fear of failing to sleep is quite often the number one reason why people do indeed struggle to achieve a restful night. This self-fulfilling prophecy is unique in its nature, the harder you try, the less you succeed. It runs opposite to what we’re taught as children and often the very notion that we are unable to do what we’re trying our hardest to do is enough to destroy moral, prompting someone to give up entirely and seek outside help.
Fighting insomnia is a process and it requires persistence and a strong will, along with as much help as you can get. Cue the Breathing Relief blog, introducing you to a number of sleep aids, from technology to diet and exercise. And it seems that the UK media, with their sort of love affair with sleep disorders, are offering solutions also!
In this week’s Closer magazine, Beauty Insider reported the top 3 Sleep Saviours- pillow sprays designed to help you drift off to a relaxed and scented sleep.
#1 Sweet Scent-sation: Spritzing this fragrant mandarin and chamomile mist over our pillow helped towards a relaxing, restful sleep.
Spa Collection Absolute Calm Pilliow Mist- Marks & Spencer £4.
#2 Spa Vibe: The soothing geranium and rose aromas are therapeutic and relaxing.
Calming Aromatherapy Room Spray- Neal’s Yard Remedies £16.
#3 Natural Chill: We used this spray, containing frankincense and eucalyptus, together with the pulse-points roll on with lavender oil for a restful night.
Sleep Mini Solutions- This Works £10.
So there you have it, the experts always looking out for you! Sleep well.