Your sleep questions answered

Struggling to get to sleep? Bupa's National Medical Director and GP Dr Tim Ross answers some common sleep questions.

1. How can I fall asleep faster and sleep soundly?

  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark.
  • Ensure you feel safe and comfortable.
  • Avoid anything that gets your mind racing before bed.
  • Get to know what keeps you awake and what relaxes you.
  • Invest in the right bed to make sure you're comfortable.
  • Make sure the room temperature is just right so you don't wake up feeling hot or cold.

2. How can you manage insomnia from restless leg syndrome?

The good news is for many people restless leg syndrome (RLS) often passes after a few months, but for some people it can become chronic. 

RLS is a major cause of insomnia. It's important to make sure you're as comfortable and relaxed as possible when going to bed. For some exercise during the day can help, as can avoiding alcohol or eating before bed. Massages, a hot bath and gentle stretches are also worth trying.

There is over the counter medication available. If you're struggling with RLS it's a good idea to see your doctor to help find a solution.

3. What are the signs and risks associated with sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is loud chronic snoring which occurs every night.

When happens in someone with sleep apnoea is that their airways become obstructed through snoring and they stop breathing. Soon after the person will gasp for air and their breathing is restored. Because of this someone with sleep apnoea can have low levels of oxygen in their blood.

While it's not dangerous is can have a huge impact on how a person feels. Someone with sleep apnoea is likely to feel very tired. There is treatment available so if you have signs and symptoms of sleep apnoea it's important to see a medical professional.

4. How can you manage pain that interferes with sleep?

Pain is a common problem which can keep people awake at night and treatment varies from person to person.

There are things you can try to make yourself feel more comfortable in bed. Getting a good mattress or pillow may help, ensuring you are warm enough is important too. 

If it's chronic pain I recommend seeing a pain management specialist to not only help with sleep but to improve your quality of life.

5. What is the likely cause of waking suddenly in a panic?

Waking in the middle of the night in a panic is likely caused by a nightmare. Not everyone remembers their dreams or nightmares which can make it hard to recognise feelings of the anxiety or panic with a night terror. This can be really tricky to manage as we can't control our dreams. 

There are medications which can help to settle you during the evening. If you do wake in a panic I recommend getting out of bed, having a glass of water, going to the toilet and trying to break the cycle before going back to sleep.

 Sleep well CTA
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