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Is Insomnia Making You Grouchy?

Hello, Insomnia my old friend.

I don’t understand where it came from, and boy oh boy, is she an uninvited guest. I love my sleep, and not being able to sleep is not only turning me into something resembling Godzilla, but it is also making me absolutely unproductive.

According to Sleepfoundation.org, there are multiple reasons that can cause insomnia. For example:

  • Nasal/sinus allergies
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux
  • Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain

With this in mind, I tried to figure out which of the above was the culprit for my lack of sleep. After much elimination, I figured out it must be my Rheumatoid Arthritis that had flared up, and the bout of lower back pain that had hit me after too many squats in the gym (because summer bodies, you know).

So I did some further research into how one can improve your sleep patterns.

Sleep Schedule

You need to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Try stick to a schedule by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. This will set your body clock, and create a rhythm.

Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Make sure that you don’t go to bed hungry or overly full. Avoid eating very large and heavy meals. Also avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol before bed. Although alcohol may make you feel sleepy, it can wake you up during the night and put your sleep pattern out of whack, leaving you feeling like you were hit by a bus the next morning.

Create a ‘zen’ environment

A cool, dark and quiet environment is most conducive for the best sleep. Avoid too much screen time at least 1 hour before bedtime, especially blue screens such as cellphones, iPads and laptops.

Use earplugs, eye pads, and block out curtains to create the best environment. Having a warm bath with essential oils such as lavender before bed, and doing calming activities like yoga and meditation has been shown to improve sleeping patterns.

Say no to daytime naps

If you have to nap in the day, limit it to a maximum of 30 minutes as this can interfere with your sleep patterns.

Manage your stress levels

Manage your stress levels by trying to work through them before bedtime. Write down all you need to deal with and attend to them the next day. Stresses and worries can leave you tossing and turning through the night, interrupting your sleep.

As they say, sleeping on a problem, makes the answer clearer in the morning.


If after all of this, you still cannot sleep, seek a doctors attention. But, be warned, the use of sleeping tablets comes with its own pros and cons. But that is a story for another day. I am now exhausted… seems I have found the cure for my insomnia 😉

Do you struggle to sleep? What have you done to win the war against insomnia? Let us know in the comments below.

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Adele Koolen
Adele Koolen

Health Editor

Adele Koolen studied BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy at Wits, practiced as a Physio for 15 years, and became one of the most sought-after Physios in the world sport arena. However, a hand injury in 2017 forced Adele to pursue alternative business ventures, resulting in her becoming a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. She is currently a Social Media Manager for a design company in Johannesburg, the founder of the #IAmEnoughZA campaign and the reigning Mrs SA Charity.

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