Monday, 4 Dec 2023

Insomnia remedies as sleepless nights skyrocket in anxious Britain

Lorraine: Daisy Maskell discusses living with insomnia

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An insomnia expert has shared her advice to help stressed Brits get some sleep as the cost of living crisis causes anxiety for many households.

The new average bill for electricity and gas for 24 million households means energy bills will have almost trebled from October last year when they were an average of £1,277, a major factor in inflation rising to a 40-year high.

This stress is disturbing many Brits’ sleep with Google searches on insomnia high in the past few months. Experts have suggested ways to get a good night’s kip, including avoiding caffeine and technology in the evening. 

Penny Weston, director at Moddershall Oaks Country Spa, a health retreat in Staffordshire, told “There are a number of reasons insomnia seems to be on the rise. The most common one now is that people just generally seem to be worried about money, so that is a big, big problem we have got at the moment. There is a lot of anxiety about the cost of living. It is only going to get worse.”

The wellness centre, which in the grounds of the spa and focuses on improving guests’ mental health, encourages meditation and reflective thinking, tools Penny suggests can work at home.

The mum, who has more than 20 years experience in the wellbeing industry, added: “I think the cost of living is going to become a big problem for people’s health. It’s about learning to change bad habits and sharing any concerns you have with your partner or family. It’s trying to talk yourself through the anxiety and stress, and that’s why we do a lot of meditation at my clinic.

“Working from home is a huge factor because people just don’t know how or when to switch off.”

Penny also said ditching tablets and phones in bed for traditional books for reading helps people fall into deep sleep.

“A lot of people use their devices to chill out, like for reading, checking the news and it just doesn’t work if you want to try to wind down. Using physical books often helps for sure, rather than tablets. I can fall asleep quite quickly after reading an actual book,” she continued.

“Going to bed the same time or roughly the same time and having a consistent wake-up time is good because our bodies like patterns.”

Anyone suffering should visit their GP in the first instance.

A spokesman for Age UK said: “You could be referred to a psychological practitioner for cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which can help you to break patterns of thoughts and behaviours that may be contributing to your insomnia.

“In the short-term, you may be prescribed a course of sleeping tablets to help you catch up with some sleep, but these aren’t recommended for long-term use as they don’t tackle the underlying causes of insomnia and can be addictive.”

Insomnia can be caused by noise, uncomfortable beds, use of alcohol and recreational drugs, not least by stress brought on my energy prices and other factors.

Experts say insomnia, if left untreated, can lead to poor decision making and increased stress levels among concerns.

A spokesperson for Bed Kingdom, a large furniture store, said: “The current economic climate is uncertain, leaving many with feelings of anxiety and stress which are key contributors to insomnia. If you are experiencing insomnia symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help as quickly as possible as lack of sleep can lead to poor decision making, increased stress and a constant irritable feeling.”

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