Oct 032016
 

insomniaIn the beginning, I thought sleeplessness was not such a huge issue. Sure, I felt tired and would end up sleeping in during the weekend, but I had always thought that it was common to most adults. I attributed my difficulty of falling asleep to stress or a lot of things to do, and the last thing I expected was that I was already suffering from insomnia. 

I would spend an hour or so tossing around in bed, even though I was already feeling tired. I was also always feeling irritable and started to have difficulty focusing on the road while driving home from work. A colleague casually mentioned that she was going to physiotherapy for insomnia, and whilst chatting with her about it, I realized I had the exact same symptoms. As she talked about her experience, I began to realize that my insomnia might actually be something I should be taking seriously.

I wanted to know more about it myself, so I asked her to refer me to her Werribee physiotherapy clinic. In my first visit, the physiotherapist asked me about my sleeping habits and diet and we had a discussion about insomnia.

Normal and Natural Approaches to Sleeplessness and Insomnia

Going to physiotherapy is where most people think they should go when they have trouble with sleep. The common approaches include taking a sleeping pill, however, they do not lead to having the same kind of deep sleep that your mind and body need to recover. Moreover, there are also side effects that you might experience from taking these tablets. It is also the same with alcohol, so they are both not good options to help you sleep. 

On the other hand, easy and natural ways to improve sleep quality and quantity. For example, caffeine, tobacco, and other stimulants should be avoided, as well as avoiding taking long naps. Of course, the sleeping environment is important. Your room should be dark and quiet and should match with the proper day and night cycles. Hydration is also important to achieve a deep and good type of sleep.

Regular exercise can also contribute. Adrenaline is released during your workout and afterward, endorphins, or the “feel happy” hormones. However, you should do it at least 2 hours before your bedtime to be able to reap the benefits and not be too excited from the movement to stay awake. 

Your state of mind also affects our sleep. Most of us are so busy with work and other responsibilities that we are too stressed to have a decent amount of sleep. Addressing the root cause of stress or trying some relaxing meditation can contribute to solving your insomnia.

The Physiotherapy Solution

Most of these approaches are quite common and well-known. I have also tried out a few them, keeping caffeine intake to a minimum, relaxation exercises and I even am exercising regularly. However, my problem is still not solved so there had to be a deeper root cause. This is mainly the reason why I have decided to turn to physiotherapy.

My physiotherapist informed me of some conditions that might actually lead to insomnia and that can be addressed by physiotherapy. My colleague, for example, has been experiencing back pain after a bad car accident. This is the reason why her doctors referred her to the clinic. In fact, those who report aches in the back are 55% more likely to report having problems with sleeplessness. Therefore, going through physiotherapy for back pain might also help you sleep better.

The other condition that affects quality and quantity of sleep is OSAHS or Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea syndrome. This means, when sufferers sleep, there can be a collapse of the upper airway. This can lead to reduced breathing or even stop it. Physiotherapy exercise is a popular long-term treatment approach for this syndrome, and along the way, improve depth and patterns of sleep. 

The Role of Sleeping Positions

Your physiotherapist can also help address insomnia by investigating your body. Should you suffer from sleeplessness for no apparent reason, you might then benefit from following a sleep guide. This means learning the right sleeping positions to maintain the right and natural position of your spine. This will then reduce the stress and strain on your back and allowing you to slumber deeply and wake up without any aches or pains the next day. 

Your physiotherapist can assess which position is your favorite, and work to make it better. For example, sleeping on the stomach is not naturally good for your spine. However, if you place a couple of pillows at the right place, then this can end up being good for your back and let you achieve deep sleep. You can also wake up refreshed and ready to face the new day. 

Consulting with a physiotherapist has taught me a lot about insomnia and the possible causes and treatments available. A one-on-one discussion and the personalized approach allowed me to understand what was really the cause of my sleeplessness. Moreover, the tailored exercise that I ended up doing at the clinic was enough to slowly reduce my issues and help me achieve a good night’s rest. After my experience, I became even more aware how important sleep is and how I can maintain my newly acquired balanced sleeping patterns.