The term 'insomnia' refers to an inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep for an adequate length of time. This may cause chronic tiredness that badly affects your daily life.
This said, it is important to stress that virtually everybody has problems sleeping at some time or other. Stress, depression and worry are well known causes of insomnia. Illness is another possible cause, especially if there is pain or discomfort.
There are many types of sleeping pills available. However, it is important not to use sleeping pills too often as your body may come dependent on the medicine. Sleeping tablets may also leave you feeling drowsy and lethargic in the morning.
Good advice for people with insomnia is to:
- Exercise, as it often helps you sleep, but avoid exercise before you go to bed.
- Write down any worries you may have rather than fretting about them.
- Take a warm bath before bed to help relax you.
- Avoid large meals before going to bed as your digestive system can keep you awake.
- Cut down on drinks containing caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, cocoa), particularly late at night.
- Make sure you have a comfortable bed. The bedroom itself should be well ventilated, cool and as dark and quiet as possible.
- Don't go to bed until you feel tired.
- Read a book until you feel dozy and get up again if you are not asleep within half an hour.
- Get into a routine of getting up at the same time everyday, set an alarm and get up straight away even if you had a bad night's sleep as this may make you feel tired enough to sleep the next night.
- Many people find herbal remedies help them to sleep better than other treatments. Passiflora, valerian and lavender essential oil are all known to help promote sleep.
If you try these and they don't work, you should consult your GP.
- Taking more exercise and avoiding daytime naps along with a regular sleeping pattern can help in treating insomnia.
- If insomnia is affecting your work and personal relationships you should consult your GP. Medicines may be prescribed for short term use.
- Our Pharmacist can provide information on lifestyle changes which can help in treating insomnia and also provide advice on the many herbal sleeping aids available.