What is insomnia?
Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. Insomnia is a common problem and is thought to affect one in three people. Signs of insomnia may include:
- Waking up several times in the night
- Waking and not able to get back to sleep
- Feeling tired
- Poor concentration
- Feeling irritable
Insomnia can be associated with poor lifestyle, mental health conditions, physical conditions, stress, anxiety, medication, and poor sleep routines.
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is a critical part of our lives for our health and wellbeing. It helps the brain and body to rejuvenate and can regulate our mood, reduce stress, and improve memory.
It may become more difficult to take in new information, concentrate and focus if we are sleep deprived. Research shows that an ongoing lack of sleep has an increased link to heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes.
A normal amount of sleep for an adult would be around seven to nine hours, although this is down to the individual and what they feel is enough sleep for them. If you are having trouble sleeping or staying asleep, you can seek professional help from your GP.
How can I beat insomnia?
- Adopt a routine, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.
- Take a warm bath an hour before bed.
- Avoid electronics and bright screens up to two hours before bedtime.
- Try listening to audiobooks or calming music at bedtime.
- Think about your sleep environment (minimise light and noise etc.).
- Make sure your room is not too hot or too cold.
- Exercise regularly, but do not exercise right before bed.
- Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
- Take some time before bed to relax, unwind and clear your head.
- Reserve your bed for sleeping.
- Avoid napping during the day as much as possible. Napping during the day may have a negative impact on your ability to sleep and stay asleep during the night.