Sleep 2

Last week’s post was about how to avoid the soporific effect of winter. The next few posts tackle the opposite problem: insomnia. So read on if you experience a problem with any of the following:

  • Getting to sleep
  • Waking frequently in the night
  • Waking early and being unable to get back to sleep
  • Sleeping so lightly that you wake unrefreshed.

Insomnia can be caused by the following:

  • Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
  • Moderate or hard physical exercise close to bedtime
  • A poor sleep environment (e.g. uncomfortable bedding, noise, light, room temperature too high or low)
  • Stress
  • Some medications
  • Menopause (hot flushes cause wakefulness)
  • Mental health problems (e.g. anxiety, depression)
  • Physical health problems (e.g. pain, restless leg syndrome).

Just one poor night’s sleep can cause fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, low mood and tearfulness. Prolonged insomnia can have a profound effect on daily living, impacting on work performance, personal relationships and enjoyment of recreational activities, so it is important to tackle insomnia sooner rather than later. You should consult your GP if your insomnia goes on for weeks rather than just a few days. There are plenty of tactics that you can try to overcome insomnia and I will cover those in next week's post.