Consult your healthcare professional if you never seem to get enough sleep, or if your sleeping medication is no longer effective.
- Inability to fall asleep
- Waking up throughout the night and not being able to get back to sleep
- Waking up too early
- Symptoms of tiredness and irritability are commonly experienced during the day due to lack of sleep
Occasional and temporary disturbance of one's normal sleeping pattern is normal and not cause for concern - anxiety, depression, worry or excitement are the most common causes, and the insomnia goes away when the cause is resolved.
Physical ailments that can interfere with your sleep include disorders of the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and digestive system.
Insomnia, sometimes in conjunction with night sweats, can also be one of the symptoms of menopause.
- Valerian, Passionflower and Hops are sedative herbs that can help you to sleep; they should be taken approximately one hour before going to bed
- Helping your body to cope with stress commonly results in better sleeping patterns; try taking a B group vitamin complex supplement, preferably with magnesium, during the day to help your sleep at night time
- Hypericum can help if depression is associated with insomnia
Life Style Factors
Avoid stimulants such as sugar, cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages after 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Vigorous exercise and adrenaline pumping books and television shows before bed are also likely to make it difficult to sleep.
A glass of warm milk at bedtime may help to induce sleep, as may a warm bath containing relaxing essential oils such as Lavender or Marjoram.
Overcoming bad sleeping habits takes time. Try to set a new routine of going to bed at the same time every night.
Remember, a few nights of poor sleep do no long-term harm. Even if you toss and turn trying to get to sleep, research has shown that you are probably getting more periods of sleep than you think.
A well-balanced lifestyle incorporating a healthy diet with regular exercise and relaxation is the best prevention from insomnia.
Ensure your bedroom is quiet, dark and well-ventilated. Ear plugs and eye-shades may help to reduce noise and light, and are particularly valuable for shift workers.