What is insomnia?
Insomnia occurs when you regularly find it hard to fall or stay asleep. Although most people will go through short periods of sleeplessness, insomnia can affect both your physical and emotional health.
Insomnia key terms
- Primary insomnia
- Chronic insomnia
- Mild insomnia
- Sleep latency
- Circadian rhythm
What are signs of insomnia?
Insomnia can affect your ability to sleep in different ways, usually in combination.
- You may find it difficult to fall asleep
- You may not be able to stay asleep for how long you want to
- You might wake up during the night and find it hard to fall back asleep
Common signs of insomnia can be:
- Ongoing trouble sleeping
- Restlessness in bed
- Severe snoring
Common effects of insomnia are:
- Mood changes, such as irritability
- Waking unrefreshed and feel tired during the day
- Difficulty focusing, poor memory and concentration when awake
If you find you have signs of sleeplessness that are persisting and impacting your mood and health, make sure you visit your doctor.
What causes insomnia?
Sometimes there may be no cause for your insomnia, in which case it is known as primary insomnia. However, other types of insomnia can be caused by:
- Some medications
- Caffeine or drinking alcohol
- Pain or discomfort from an illness*
- Stress, anxiety or low mood*
- A sleep disorder, such as sleep apnoea or restless legs syndrome*
- Working shifts
Your risk for chronic insomnia (insomnia that lasts more than one month) increases if you are older with poor health.*
*See a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any disorders mentioned above, or if you are experiencing chronic insomnia or symptoms persist.
There are a few changes you can make that may help reduce your risk for insomnia.
If you have recently experienced a stressful event (such as loss of a loved one), or are experiencing anxiety or low mood, you can help reduce your risk for stress related insomnia by visiting a trained professional to appropriately deal with your grief and loss, anxiety or low mood.
Nicotine and other stimulants like caffeine and alcohol can interfere with your sleep. Maybe try avoiding drinking caffeine and alcohol late in the afternoon, or reducing consumption of known stimulants. Smoking can disrupt sleep by inflaming the linings of your airways affecting breathing during the night. If you are smoker avoid smoking at night time or consider even quitting.
If you work shifts, try to make sure you are still getting adequate sleep and you’re still exposing your body to light during waking hours. You may consider discussing with your doctor light therapy and other techniques that may naturally facilitate an increase melatonin levels in your body to help you sleep at appropriate times.
Ask your local healthcare practitioner to check your medications and overall health, especially if you have some of the causative factors discussed above, and talk to them if you are concerned you may have a sleep disorder.
Insomnia management and healthy living
To help resolve sleeplessness, try creating a healthy association between going to bed, only going to bed when you’re sleepy, and get out of bed when you have been awake for a long time.
Consider having a regular bedtime routine to prepare you for sleep, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and not taking an afternoon nap when you feel tired during the day.
Try breathing exercises and meditation or visit a sleep specialist. Relaxation techniques can release emotional tension and help you relax your body. Audio recordings and sleep machines may also help you calm your mind and body.
Exposure to sunlight during the day, especially in the morning, may also set your internal body clock (circadian rhythm) to wake during the day and sleep at night. At night, try to minimise light and noise in your bedroom, such as bright and flashing lights and try to avoid any ‘screen time’ before bed.
Natural medicines containing extracts of Valeriana officinalis and Humulus lupulus in combination are often used to help provide relief from sleeplessness.
ReDormin contains a clinically researched combination of Valeriana officinalis and Humulus lupulus referred to as Ze 91019. This exclusive formula has been researched in patients for over 10 years to relieve insomnia and help restore healthy sleep patterns. It is carefully designed to help relieve night-time stress and nervous tension while supporting a deeper, more restful sleep.
Clinical evidence has shown ReDormin reduced the time taken to fall asleep by nearly 80% and it helped three times more patients to stay asleep at night without waking.
Clinical trials have also demonstrated ReDormin can help you to spend more time in the restorative, deep sleep stages - so you can wake feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.
- About one in three people have mild insomnia
- Insomnia affects more women than men, and it is one of the most common reasons to visit your doctor
- Healthy adults should aim for between seven to eight hours of sleep at night
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