Insomnia is defined as the difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning.
It’s a common problem affecting around 1 in every 3 people in the UK and is more common in elderly people.
If you have insomnia, you may:
- Find it difficult getting off to sleep
- Lie awake for long periods at night
- Wake up several times during the night
- Wake up early in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep
- Not feel refreshed when you get up
- Feel tired and irritable during the day and have difficulty concentrating
Occasional episodes of insomnia may come and go without causing any serious problems, but for some people it can last for months or even years at a time.
Persistent insomnia can have a significant impact on your quality of life. It can limit what you’re able to do during the day, affect your mood, and lead to relationship problems with friends, family and colleagues.
How much sleep do I need?
There are no official guidelines about how much sleep you should get each night because everyone is different. On average, a “normal” amount of sleep for an adult is considered to be around 7 to 8 hours a night.
What’s important is whether you feel you get enough sleep and whether your sleep is good quality.
You’re probably not getting enough good-quality sleep if you constantly feel tired throughout the day and it’s affecting your everyday life.
What causes insomnia?
It’s not always clear what triggers insomnia, but it’s often associated with:
- Stress and anxiety
- Physical health conditions – such as heart problems and long-term pain
- Certain medicines – such as some antidepressants, epilepsy medicines and steroid medication
- A poor sleeping environment – such as an uncomfortable bed, or a bedroom that’s too light, noisy, hot or cold
- Lifestyle factors – such as shift work, or drinking alcohol or caffeine before going to bed
- Mental health conditions – such a depression
Some Hints & Tips for Sleeping Sound
- Regularity – Set regular times to go to bed and to get up
- Daily Activity / exercise
- Avoid eating meals after 6pm – 6.30pm at night
- Avoid Caffeine after 4pm in the day
- Avoid smoking before bedtime
- Avoid “Over Stimulating” the brain pre sleep – For example, avoid action adventure / thriller movies / Computer work
- Room temperature – Some evidence that a cooler room promotes better sleep.
- Noise – Minimise any external noises that could affect sleep patterns
- Read before bedtime / Listen to gentle / relaxing music. Do something gentle / relaxing you enjoy before going to bed
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Slow everything down an hour or two before sleep
- Make a list of things on your mind – to deal with in “normal hours”
- Breathing Techniques
- In Bed: Check your body for tension – Consciously relax areas of tension – Scan / check from your toes to your head
- Your Bedroom being a “Calm Oasis” – Soften your room and avoid Computers etc…
- Aromatherapy essential oils
- Avoid sleeping / napping during the day – May negatively affect sleep patterns
- Don’t lie in bed feeling anxious about lack of sleep. Instead, get up, go to another room for about 20 minutes and do something else, such as reading or listening to soft music, before settling down again.
- Avoid watching the clock because it will only make you anxious about how long it’s taking you to fall asleep.
- Make sure your mattress is comfortable and that you have a pillow that is comfortable, as well as adequate bedding for the time of year.
Our Complementary Therapist, Mat Atkins, has recorded a track that is designed to help promote a more restful sleep and can be found here: