Insomnia is common and affects people of all ages. There are many different reasons for insomnia. Bad sleep habits, called 'poor sleep hygiene,' and conditioned or habitual insomnia are the most common causes. Less commonly, insomnia may be due to side effects of certain medications or an underlying medical disorder such as depression.
- Difficulty getting off to sleep
- Trouble staying asleep
- Waking too early in the morning
- Worrying about not sleeping
- Tiredness during the day
How to improve your sleep hygiene
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine-containing drinks after 6pm
- Use the bedroom for sleeping and intimate activity only (e.g. not for studying, working or watching television)
- Avoid long daytime naps
- Aim to rise at the same time each day
- Avoid excessive time in bed
- If unable to sleep, stay out of bed until sleepy again
Other strategies to treat conditioned insomnia include relaxation techniques and more specialised methods such as Stimulus Control and Sleep Restriction Therapies. Some types of insomnia may be caused by a mistimed body clock, which can be treated with bright light therapy.