INSOMNIA

The World Health Organisation states that we all need around 8 hours of sleep a night to function at our best. Bad news is, if you’re consistently getting less than this as an adult, it will start to impact on your life. Sleep is absolutely vital for maintaining good physical and mental health. It plays a significant role in healing and repairing our hearts and blood vessels, helps us maintain a healthy weight and a good balance of hormones, and controls our sugar levels. It’s also incredibly important for various aspects of brain function, including concentration, performance, and productivity.

Unfortunately, for approximately 1 in 3 people in the UK, it is a regular problem. For most, the problem is fairly short-lived, but for as many as 10% it becomes a chronic problem which significantly affects their life. Perhaps that’s you? There are many different patterns of insomnia. 30% of people with insomnia have no problem getting off to sleep (Type 2 Insomnia) but then wake in the early hours and cannot get back to sleep. Some struggle to get to sleep at all. (Type 1 Insomnia)

CAUSES OF INSOMNIA

A common trigger for sleeping difficulties is stress and worry and obviously some people are much more susceptible than others.

Other common causes of chronic insomnia include physical illness that causes pain, background environmental noise, depression, irregular sleeping hours due to shift work, caffeine or alcohol consumption, and medication side-effects. Other illnesses can disrupt sleep, such as menopausal hot flushes, and urinary problems from infection or prostate disease, causing night-time waking. Insomnia is much more common in older people.

Once triggered, sleep problems may then be perpetuated by the individual’s beliefs and behaviours – they often worry excessively about the effect that inadequate sleep will have on them and so strive really hard to get to sleep. In doing so, a vicious cycle is created that is difficult to break on their own.

But don’t worry, just because you can’t break it on your own, doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed.

 

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