Is it still stress?

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by Guest Posts on Tue Aug 09, 2022 9:16 am

Is it still stress?

I had been going through a period of stress last year and found it very difficult to sleep – both getting to sleep and sleep quality – tossing and turning and staying asleep. That stress has basically passed now but I still seem to have some residue issues left – I can go to sleep now easily but still keep waking up in the middle of the night 2 or 3 times. It is incredibly frustrating – is there anything you would recommend? (Dave)
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Dr Sarah Gilchrist
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by Dr Sarah Gilchrist on Thu Aug 11, 2022 10:22 am

Re: Is it still stress?

Hi Dave

I'm sorry you experienced a period of stress and have had some sleep issues.

Its hard to comment on your sleep being related to stress without knowing any additional factors that maybe be adding to sleep health issues e.g. physical or mental health complaints. However, try some of the below practical techniques and if still experiencing regular night wakening's see your GP.

Waking a couple of time a night is not uncommon particularly if it's to go to the toilet. Where night wakening's become an issue is if you are waking regularly multiple times a night and can't get back to sleep easily. It maybe residual bad habits from your phase of poor sleep last year and you may have to try some gentle interventions to help reset your previously good sleep schedule.

Try to decipher if it's something specific waking you up, for example, noises, street lights etc.?
Eye masks, ear plugs, blackout blinds may help if this is the case.

Age maybe a factor. Ask you GP for a prostate check up and a sleep apnoea test.

To help you get back to sleep try some of the following practical techniques and if you are still experiencing poor sleep, which has been an issue for 3 months or more, then seek advice from your GP.

Develop a regular ‘strategy to sleep’ that’s workable and flexible to your life demands
Have a regular sleep routine (time to bed, get up time)
Avoid devices in bed/bedroom: minimise exposure to blue light
Limit late night exercise (i.e. after 9pm) and eat well throughout the day
Seek daylight regularly
Engage in exercise/physical activity regularly
Try some gentle psychological interventions e.g. mindfulness, breathing techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy (see your GP for advice)
Limit caffeine & alcohol
Use sleep medication as a last port of call. See GP. Only take sleep medication once you’ve tried other practical strategies to improve your sleep

Wishing you all the best with improving your sleep.
Dr Sarah Gilchrist
Specialist in sleep and athletic performance ... -gilchrist

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