Insomnia is the medical term for not being able to sleep properly.
This can be due to many reasons. You may have a different pattern of sleep e.g. shift work. Or you may suffer with stress or anxiety. Or sometimes insomnia can occur because you have recently moved house and you are finding it difficult to sleep in your new bed.
You may also suffer with pain, hot flushes, period pains or heart burn.
Talk to your practitioner if you think there is something stopping you from falling asleep
Symptoms of insomnia
- Difficulty falling asleep at bedtime
- Waking up a lot during the night
- Waking up during the night and not being able to fall back asleep
- Waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep
Overall, all patients with insomnia will have the same complaint; they cannot get a good night’s sleep!
Treatment of insomnia
It may be useful for you to keep a sleep diary for at least 1 week; this can provide the practitioner with some insight into your sleeping habits and schedules.
The first step to managing or treating insomnia is getting the basics right. You should practice good sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene advice:
- Fix a bedtime and a waking up time
- Try not to have naps during the day
- Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated, don’t have the room too hot or cold
- Practice relaxation techniques before bed e.g. deep breathing techniques or yoga
- Don’t take your worries to bed – try and deal with your issues before you go to bed. Leave school in school and your job stresses at work.
- Stick to a pre-sleep ritual – take a warm bath to help you relax before bed or do some light reading.
- Use comfortable bed sheets and pillows
- Block out as much noise as possible and keep the room as dark as possible
- Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine 6 hours before bedtime
- Avoid eating sugary, spicy or heavy meals 4-6 hours before bed
- You can try a light snack before bed e.g. warm milk or bananas
- Live a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly, but not right before bed!
- Don’t watch TV, play games or work in bed. Keep office or home work for the desk! If you need something, try listening to the radio instead.
- If you cannot fall asleep after about half an hour, get up and go to another room, do something until you feel sleepy and then go back to bed
- If you find that you wake up during the night and cannot fall back asleep, then do not ‘try’ and fall back asleep, get up and do something, you should feel tired again after trying this.
- Many medications can cause sleeplessness as a side effect – speak to your practitioner or pharmacist about your medication that may be affecting your sleep pattern
Medication for insomnia
To help overall improvement in sleep patterns, your practitioner may prescribe sleep medications for short-term relief of a sleep problem – this should not be relied upon as the aim is to find out why you have trouble sleeping in the first place.
You should aim to fix your routine and practice good sleep hygiene.
To speak with a practitioner about Insomnia treatment contact us today.