Sleep. It’s one thing that most people love – teenagers especially. Teenagers are well known for sleeping until midday and being the grumpiest people known to mankind if they don’t get enough sleep. But not everyone sleeps well. Some people really struggle with sleeping. There are various possible reasons for why they find it difficult to sleep but one of these possible reasons is a disorder called insomnia.
The NHS definition of insomnia is regular trouble with sleeping in general, difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning.
Not everyone with insomnia has trouble getting to sleep – some people can go out like a light as soon as their head hits the pillow but then wake up multiple times a night or can wake up in the early hours of the morning and then not go back to sleep. Insomnia affects everyone differently but it affects more people than you might think.
In 2011, it was reported that a third of the UK’s population suffered with insomnia. In 2014, 30-35% of Americans said they suffered with brief symptoms of insomnia with 15-20% having short term insomnia disorder and 10% having chronic long term insomnia disorder.
I know that I have definitely had symptoms of insomnia. Whether it was an actual disorder or not, I don’t know as I never went to a doctor to get it diagnosed. I’d heard about insomnia but I didn’t know much about it and I didn’t know that it was treatable by ways other than sleeping pills. I still have some nights where I really struggle with sleeping and can get anything from 4 hours to half an hour of sleep. Sometimes I will wake up at 3am and be wide awake and no matter what I try to do, I just can’t fall asleep again. Other nights, I will wake up multiple times and I can fall back asleep but feel just as tired as if I’d had barely any sleep. Insomnia can be really horrible to deal with, especially if it’s as regular as once or twice a week – sometimes more.
Insomnia doesn’t only cause disruptions at night time but also during the day following the sleepless night. It can make the individual tired, irritable and overly emotional and can also cause them to have trouble concentrating. This can cause issues especially at work or school where peak concentration is vital. If you think that you may have insomnia, whether you’re experiencing what could be brief symptoms or something more, there are some things you can try before a visit to your GP is necessary.
It’s a good idea to set a routine for yourself and go to bed at the same time each night and set an alarm for the same time every morning. It is also worthwhile to relax before bed with a bath or listening to some calming music or drawing or anything which helps you feel relaxed and calm. It’s different for every person. If it’s too light in your room then invest in an eye mask or if the issue is noise, try some earplugs. Simple things like this could make a real difference. There are more tips like this on the NHS website.
If you’re still having trouble even after adjusting your night routine, it’s worth going to see your GP. They are more than qualified to recommend other treatments for insomnia and to help figure out
It could be something to do with medication you’re taking or a family illness or even a mental health condition. They will do their absolute best to help you.
In the meantime, try not to worry. Everything will turn out okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end. I promise.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.