Insomnia

Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms: Difficulty falling asleep. Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep.

Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping. It usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.

Symptoms of Insomnia

  • Find it hard to go to sleep
  • Wake up several times during the night
  • Lie awake at night
  • Wake up early and can’t go back to sleep
  • Still feel tired after waking up
  • Find it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired
  • Feel tired and irritable during the day
  • Find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you’re tired

The most common causes are:

  • Stress, anxiety or depression
  • Noise
  • A room that’s too hot or cold
  • Uncomfortable beds
  • Alcohol, caffeine or nicotine
  • Recreational drugs like cocaine or ecstasy
  • Jet lag
  • Shift work

Treatment of Insomnia

There are a number of things you can try to help yourself get a good night’s sleep if you have insomnia.

These include:

  • setting regular times for going to bed and waking up
  • relaxing before bed time – try taking a warm bath or listening to calming music
  • using thick curtains or blinds, an eye mask and earplugs to stop you being woken up by light and noise
  • avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals and exercise for a few hours before going to bed
  • not watching TV or using phones, tablets or computers shortly before going to bed 
  • not napping during the day
  • writing a list of your worries, and any ideas about how to solve them, before going to bed to help you forget about them until the morning

Some people find over-the-counter sleeping tablets helpful, but they don’t address the underlying problem and can have troublesome side effects.