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I'm a light sleeper at the best of times. It used to be because my youngest son who has autism NEVER seemed to sleep more than a few minutes at a time, but now I think it has much to do with hormonal changes caused by the menopause.
It's especially bad when I've got a lot on my mind, or when I go away on holiday.
A strange bed, lights from electrical appliances, unfamiliar noises, change of diet, all add to the problem, and if you add time difference and jet lag into the mix, sometimes things get too much
Returning from a trip to America recently, having had little sleep for several days, I found myself exhausted. When going "up" the escalator at King's Cross Station in London, I did a back flip over my luggage and tumbled back to the bottom.
Thankfully, a couple of young men had the presence of mind to press the button and stop the escalator, but even so, instead of catching my train connection home, I ended up taking a trip to hospital in an ambulance.
It's one way to get a free cup of tea out of British Rail, but it's not to be recommended, although the staff were really kind and helpful and I owe them a debt of gratitude.
I know I'm incredibly lucky.
Apparently, my accident was nothing unusual and there have been people who've had some really serious injuries including broken necks.
Lack of sleep can really cause health problems, especially when it turns into insomnia, which is sleeplessness extended over a long period of time.
Some people find they simply can't get to sleep at all, whilst others wake up and can't get back to sleep.
Either way, it's unpleasant.
Stress, depression and anxiety are major players in some people's inability to sleep, as are lifestyle factors such as the use of certain medications, and too much caffeine and alcohol.
Certain shift workers also have difficulty adjusting to the various work patterns and the paramedic who transported me to hospital said his profession could expect to reduce their lives by over 7 years because of the effect of changing sleep hours.
Think about that when you next apply for a job!
One way many people have found particularly beneficial to relax is by using essential oils – especially lavender. The fragrant oils are useful but you should never apply them directly to your body.
Use them in a burner, in the bath, or in massage oils.
Apparently, if you suffer from jetlag, a soak in an aromatic bath just before you head off to the airport, or adding lemongrass and lavender oil into your body wash can work wonders.
Also, if you mix those two oils into a small bottle and massage them into your hands and temples during the flight they have a very soothing effect. That's if you're allowed to take them on the plane these days.
Another tasty cure for jet lag is supposedly a cup of warm milk sprinkled with ginger and nutmeg. I'm not a fan of milk, but it sounds nice and would probably go down very well if offered on long haul flights.
I'm also not a fan of lack of sleep either, and it can be really debilitating after a while. All that restless tossing and turning drains you and makes you lose concentration. It doesn't do much for close relationships either!
Exercise and the correct diet is beneficial for restful sleep too -
There’s no point eating a heavy meal or doing a rigorous exercise routine just before you get into bed and expecting to sleep like a baby.
It works for me, and maybe you’d like to try it too?