Sleep / Insomnia
Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping. It is very common to have short-term sleeping problems. It usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.
There are few things you can do to improve your habits or “sleep hygiene”.
- 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
- smoke, or drink alcohol, tea or coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed
- eat a big meal late at night
- exercise at least 4 hours before bed
- watch television or use devices right before going to bed – the bright light makes you more awake
- nap during the day
- drive when you feel sleepy
- sleep in after a bad night’s sleep – stick to your regular sleeping hours instead
If these changes don’t work we would recommend a course of sleep therapy.
- Sleep Station is an online sleep retraining course. You can ask for your GP to refer you.
- You could use a book to guide you through the process. Overcoming Insomnia by Colin Espie is recommended by the local sleep clinic.
GPs now rarely prescribe sleeping pills to treat insomnia. Sleeping pills can have serious side effects and you can become dependent on them.
See a GP if…
- Sleep hygiene and therapy have not worked
- You think you may have underlying Anxiety or Depression
- You frequently fall asleep unintentionally in the daytime