Kate Humble health: Animal Park host opens up about her insomnia

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Speaking to the Express.co.uk, Kate Humble revealed she struggles with falling asleep. In her own words, “sleep becomes the enemy”, as the 52-year-old struggles with insomnia.

Attributing her sleep difficulties to an unstructured life as a freelance TV presenter, Kate realises long work hours haven’t helped either.

“Lying in the dark my brain would start to go mad,” she said. “I’m a worrier. I say I don’t care what people think but actually, I do.”

As thoughts continued to swirl in her mind when she’s supposed to be sleeping, Kate began to “fear going to bed”.

“Sleep becomes the enemy,” she added. “In the middle of the night, insignificant injustices feel enormous.”

She elaborated with this example: “If somebody took my car parking space as I was about to drive in, I would replay all the things that I should have said to them as they got out of their car.”

What’s insomnia?

The Sleep Foundation reported that insomnia – a sleep disorder – affects as many as 35 percent of adults.

The signs of insomnia include problems falling asleep, staying asleep through the night, and “sleeping as long as you would like into the morning”.

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The consequences of insomnia include excessive daytime sleepiness and a higher risk of car accidents.

What causes insomnia?

Stress, an irregular sleep schedule, poor sleeping habits and anxiety can cause insomnia.

Other culprits include depression, physical illness, pain, medications and neurological problems.

“For many people, a combination of these factors can initiate and exacerbate insomnia,” added the Sleep Foundation.

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Short-term insomnia happens over a brief period of time whereas chronic insomnia lasts for three months or more.

Some people may have more trouble falling asleep while others struggle to stay asleep.

In regards to an irregular sleep schedule, akin to what Kate would have experienced, a “misalignment of the circadian rhythm” is likely.

Also known as the internal body clock, performing shift work is notorious for causing sleep disturbances.

Keeping the brain stimulated till late in the evening can also contribute to insomnia.

Examples include working late, playing video games, or using other electronic devices.

Napping late in the afternoon can also affect someone’s sleep rhythm by making it more difficult to fall asleep later.

Bear in mind: “Sleeping in later to make up for lost sleep can confuse your body’s internal clock and make it difficult to establish a healthy sleep schedule.”

It’s best to only use your bed for sex and sleep, as you don’t want to create “mental associations between your bed and wakefulness”.

Caffeine and alcohol can also make it harder to fall asleep and can contribute to insomnia.

For more information on insomnia and tips to overcome the condition, please visit the Sleep Foundation.

Kate Humble will be on BBC One’s Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel, on Saturday, January 2 at 8:30pm.

Guest stars include Stacey Dooley, Roman Kemp, Omid Djalili, Judy Murray, Owain Wyn Evans, Kate Humble, and Vikkstar.

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