'Insomnia hell' prompts Cardiff woman's search for help

Haley Evans
Image caption Haley Evans hopes to have found a solution to help her sleep

Haley Evans is trying to find a cure the condition that is blighting her life - insomnia. The 29-year-old from Cardiff kept an audio diary of how it affects her for BBC Radio's Eye on Wales.

"I've been living with insomnia for about six years now.

"I get about four hours sleep a night and for years, this hasn't been an issue. But as I get older, I'm finding this increasingly difficult.

"It's taking me much longer to mentally wake up in the mornings. I struggle to focus on simple tasks and forget things easily.

"I get impatient and short tempered. It's not fair on my family, my friends or my colleagues.

"I try so hard to stay on top of things but, more and more, it feels like every day is a battle. I feel like I'm losing 'me'.

"I've tried many things over the years; having a bath before bed, milky drinks, listening to music, reading... nothing works.

"I've sought advice from my doctor several times about a non-pharmaceutical approach and historically, they haven't suggested anything that I haven't already tried.

"On my latest visit, my doctor has suggested that I seek out meditation techniques on the internet. I will, of course, try this, but I'm unsure how successful it will be on its own.

"Since embarking on this journey with Eye on Wales, I have been recording my thoughts and feelings throughout the day.

Image caption Dr Jason Ellis helped identify Ms Evans's condition

"It's made for interesting, sometimes distressing, listening - how can someone sound more awake at 4am than they do at 2pm?

"As part of the programme, Eye On Wales introduced me to Dr Jason Ellis, director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research.

"I have completed assessment forms for him, along with a 'sleep diary' to record my sleeping patterns over a two week period.

"Monitoring everything in this way has made me realise that enough is enough and something has to be done.

"I had a full consultation with Dr Ellis who confirmed what nobody else has - that I am an insomniac.

"He has recommended that I seek out Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) and assured me that he fully believes that I can be treated successfully.

"This was a huge relief. It feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel and that one day, I may be able to sleep normally again.

"I'm excited about finding someone who can provide this treatment, and I'm looking forward to getting 'me' back."

Eye on Wales: My Insomnia Hell is on BBC Radio Wales on Sunday 12 June at 1300 BST

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