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Insomnia

Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

Symptoms of insomnia include finding it hard to fall asleep, waking up several times during the night and feeling tired during the day.

You can help improve insomnia by making changes to your sleep habits, such as having a bedtime routine and not eating or drinking shortly before bed.

Common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, too much noise at night, your bedroom being too hot or cold and drinks containing caffeine.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of insomnia include finding it hard to fall asleep, waking up several times during the night and feeling tired during the day.

Check if you have insomnia

You have insomnia if you regularly:

You can have these symptoms for months, sometimes years.

Read more on the NHS website.

You can help improve insomnia by making changes to your sleep habits, such as having a bedtime routine and not eating or drinking shortly before bed.

Self-care

Insomnia usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.


Do

  • go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – only go to bed when you feel tired
  • relax at least 1 hour before bed – for example, take a bath or read a book
  • make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet – use thick curtains, blinds, an eye mask or ear plugs
  • exercise regularly during the day
  • make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable

Don't

  • do not smoke or drink alcohol, tea or 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 bed
  • do not watch television or use devices right before going to bed – the bright light makes you more awake
  • do not nap during the day
  • do not drive when you feel sleepy
  • do not sleep in after a bad night's sleep – stick to your regular sleeping hours instead

Medical treatments

A GP will try to find out what's causing your insomnia so you get the right treatment.

Sometimes you'll be referred to a therapist for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

This can help you change the thoughts and behaviours that keep you from sleeping.

GPs now rarely prescribe sleeping pills to treat insomnia. Sleeping pills can have serious side effects and you can become dependent on them.

Sleeping pills are only prescribed for a few days, or weeks at the most, if:

  • your insomnia is very bad
  • other treatments have not worked

Read more on the NHS website.

Common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, too much noise at night, your bedroom being too hot or cold and drinks containing caffeine.

Read more on the NHS website.