Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning, even though you’ve had enough opportunity to sleep.

Most people experience problems sleeping at some point in their life. It’s thought that a third of people have episodes of insomnia. It tends to be more common in women and more likely to occur with age.

It’s difficult to define what normal sleep is because everyone is different. Your age, lifestyle, environment and diet all play a part in influencing the amount of sleep you need.

The most common symptoms of insomnia are:

  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up during the night
  • waking up early in the morning
  • feeling irritable and tired and finding it difficult to function during the day

Treating insomnia

Making the Most of Sleep

Treatment will be tailored to suit individual needs as identified during assessment . Depending on needs the following will be addressed

Problems with Sleeping Patterns:

Some people will have problems with their sleeping patterns. They may find their mind racing and unable to rest, or they may be physically unable to rest and settle down. It is, therefore, necessary for people to make themselves aware of their breathing rhythm and learn how to bring it under control when it speeds up. At first, doing this will feel uncomfortable – some people will have been breathing wrongly for so long it has become ‘normal’ to them to breathe faster.

Managing Stress

In primitive times life tended to be uncomplicated. People worked hard, then at night eased up and went to sleep for as long as necessary. If woken up, or aroused, they satisfied themselves that there was no danger, and went back to sleep again without worrying. Modern life does not allow people to do this in the same manner! Today life is often lived under pressure – continuously having to keep up with the competition. When you come home from work or school, instead of relaxing, you may continue to rush around , playing games, and so on. You then find it difficult to switch off – to take your foot off the accelerator and rest.

Worrying about sleeping and willing yourself to fall asleep usually makes going to sleep even more difficult. The less bothered you are about going to sleep the more likely they are to do so!

Our systems can easily cope with a few nights having less sleep than usual. It is only when this becomes continuous that a problem develops.

Preparing for sleep

There are a number of things that can be done to help people slow down or unwind to prepare for sleep. Not all the suggestions will work for everyone. It is often a case of experimenting and finding out what works best for any individual.

Difficulty falling asleep

Different methods can be used to help you fall asleep but you will need to try a few techniques and stick with it. Jumping from one to the other in the same evening can have the opposite affect.

Other methods may be used if you wake during the night and cannot get back to sleep.