Having trouble sleeping? These top 10 tips will help you get back on track

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This week is National Acupuncture Awareness Week, which runs from February 25 to March 3. It issupported by the British Acupuncture Council and aims to inform people about the ancient practice of traditional acupuncture.

The theme for this year’s Acupuncture Awareness Week is insomnia which is really a catch all word for long term sleep problems. People suffering from insomnia usually find it either hard to get to sleep or stay asleep.

According to new research nearly 30% of people living in the South East admit to not being able to sleep most nights and just under 10% say they are insomniacs.

The current financial climate has a lot do answer for as over 40% of those surveyed divulged that money worries stops them from getting a good night’s sleep and 32% admit work is the cause. 20% were honest enough to confess that their partner’s snoring is to blame for their sleep disturbance!

Usually there is more than one cause of insomnia. Health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression and physical conditions such as pain or asthma can lead to sleep problems. There can also be other more simple factors keeping you awake including an uncomfortable bed, noise, being too hot or cold, and eating too late at night.

The good news is there are lots of easy ways to improve your sleep quality.

Angela Wallis a fully qualified acupuncture and massage therapist gives her top ten tips:

1) Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol around four to six hours before going to bed as both are stimulants which can keep you awake.

2) Take regular exercise, but don’t do strenuous activity immediately before going to bed as this may increase the amount of adrenaline your body produces, making it difficult to get to sleep.

3) Don’t take naps during the day as this can affect your sleep pattern.

4) Take a warm bath, have a milky drink and read or listen to soothing music to create a relaxed mood before going to bed.

5) Try to get into a daily routine to establish a sleep pattern. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning – even at weekends.

6) Don’t have heavy or rich meals, especially within a few hours before going to bed.

7) Don’t watch television, play computer games or work on smart phones in the bedroom as this can stimulate your mind.

8) Mentally dealing with the day’s unfinished business is also helpful. Write down any worries to deal with the next day before you go to bed. This may help to clear them from your mind and prevent them resurfacing in the early hours.

9) Make sure your room isn’t too hot or cold, or too noisy. Have a comfortable, supportive mattress on your bed. Wear ear plugs or an eye mask if necessary.

10) Try acupuncture. There are many independent scientific research studies which have shown that acupuncture can improve sleep problems and reduce stress.

With 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year, acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today.

Angela Wallis is based at Woodside Acupuncture Clinic, 12 College Road, Eastbourne and offers free 15 minute consultations so you can find out whether it’s the right treatment for you. Visit www.woodsideacupuncture.co.uk or call 01323 638606