Insomnia a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
You may have insomnia if you regularly:
- Find it hard to go to sleep
- Wake up several times during the night
- Lie awake at night
- Wake up early and can’t go back to sleep
- Feel tired after waking up
- Find it hard to nap during the day, even though you are tired
- Feel tired and irritable during the day
- Find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you are tired
How much sleep should you be getting?
On average, we need:
- Adults = 7 to 9 hours
- Children = 9 to 13 hours
- Toddlers and babies = 12 to 17 hours
If you are constantly tired throughout the day, it means you are not getting enough sleep.
Causes of Insomnia
The most common causes of insomnia are:
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- A room that’s too hot or cold
- Uncomfortable beds
- Alcohol, caffeine or nicotine
- Recreational drugs like cocaine or ecstasy
- Jet lag
- Shift work
There is an assortment of positive and negative behaviours that can help combat insomnia. The most effective way of beating insomnia is by changing your sleeping habits.
Positive actions to take:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Only go to bed when you are tired
- Relax one hour before bed. e.g. take a bath, read a book
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet
- Exercise regularly throughout the day
- Make sure your bed is comfy
Negative actions to avoid:
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, tea and coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed
- Do not eat a big meal late at night
- Do not exercise at least 4 hours before going to bed
- Do not watch television or use devices before going to bed
- Try not to nap during the day
- Do not drive when you are sleepy
- Do not sleep in after a bad nights sleep. Stick to your sleeping schedule.
What we can do
At Ahmeys pharmacy, our healthcare professionals can direct you towards sleeping aids. You should be aware that these will not cure your insomnia and may have side effects.
Sleeping aids may make you feel drowsy the next day. You should not drive the day after taking them.
An Ahmeys healthcare professional may refer you to your GP if:
- Changing your sleeping habits has not worked
- You have not slept properly in months
- Your insomnia is affecting your daily life
Visit your Ahmeys healthcare professional if you are concerned about your sleeping habits.