Here is everything you need to know about one of the most prevalent sleep conditions
As many as 16 million adults in the UK suffer from sleepless nights, with almost a third of us (31%) identifying as having insomnia. This makes insomnia one of the most common sleep disorders in the UK, and one which can have a knock-on effect on your wider health.
When we fail to get enough sleep, we put both our physical and mental health in jeopardy. Insomnia has been linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression, as well as increasing your chances of development health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
And when it comes to combating insomnia, knowledge is power. Here is all the information you need about insomnia, including the symptoms to look out for, the potential causes, and how to treat it.
What are the symptoms of insomnia?
There are several key signs which indicate that you may have insomnia. These include:
- Waking up several times throughout the night
- Finding it difficult to get to sleep
- Lying awake at night
- Waking up early and not being able to get back to sleep
- Still feeling tired when you wake up
- Finding it hard to nap during the day even if you’re very tired
- Suffering from a tired and irritable mood during the day
- Finding it difficult to concentrate during the day because you’re tired
Insomnia can be both a short term (less than three months) and a long term condition (more than three months). Most of us experience trouble sleeping from time to time, but when it becomes a chronic problem, it can have a serious effect on your overall health and wellbeing.
What are the causes of insomnia?
Insomnia can be brought on by a range of factors, from your diet to your mental health and even your bedroom environment. Some of the most common causal factors surrounding insomnia are stress, anxiety and depression, jet lag, noise, and stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.
However, there are other factors which can play a part in causing the condition, such as sleeping in a room that’s too cold or too hot, or sleeping on an uncomfortable bed. Doing shift work can disrupt your body’s ability to wind down on an evening too.
How do you treat insomnia?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be aiming to get between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep per night, and these numbers are even higher for children – 9 to 13 hours for children and 12 to 17 hours for babies and toddlers.
The best way to reduce symptoms of insomnia is to prioritise high quality sleep, and change your sleeping habits.
Aim to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day, and make time in the evening to wind down without the use of smartphone screens or bright lights. This could involve reading a book, having a bath or meditating. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool, and invest in comfortable bedding, pillows and a high quality mattress.
When you make good sleep a priority, you’ll find that your wider health benefits as a result. A healthy sleep pattern can give you more energy, improve your mood, and even support your immune system and your metabolism.
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