What is it?
Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning.
Primary insomnia refers to insomnia where no underlying cause can be identified.
What are the symptoms?
Insomnia can include any of the following:
- difficulty getting to sleep
- waking up during the night
- waking up too early
Insomnia also causes a range of problems that can occur during the day, and can make it difficult to function normally. They include:
- difficulty waking at a normal time
- daytime sleepiness or fatigue (may not be present)
- poor concentration
- forgetfulness or making errors
- irritable or grumpy mood
- sleep anxiety’ or worrying about lack of sleep
- anxiety or depression (these issues can also cause insomnia)
- tension headaches
- digestive symptoms
- Maintain a disciplined lifestyle with a regular sleep routine.
- Make changes to your bedroom environment, to ensure maximum comfort. Make sure artificial cooling and heating is not too high or low.
- Relax and get rid of any stress or anxiety before hitting the bed. Do whatever it takes - listen to light music, soak in a tub or get a massage.
- Try and exercise every morning or at least go for walks or a swim.
- Do not over sleep, instead get out of bed once you feel rested.
- Do not consume any caffeinated beverages past noon.
- Avoid consuming alcohol before going to bed.
- Quit smoking or at least avoid smoking in the evenings.
Things to watch out for
GP should be contacted if the problem persists for more than a month. They may recommend cognitive and behavioural treatments or suggest a short course of prescription sleeping tablets as a temporary measure.