- find it hard to go to sleep
- wake up several times during the night
- lie awake at night
- wake up early and can’t go back to sleep
- still feel tired after waking up
- find it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired
- feel tired and irritable during the day
- find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you’re tired
You can have these symptoms for months, sometimes years.
Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average we need:
- adults – 7 to 9 hours
- children – 9 to 13 hours
- toddlers and babies – 12 to 17 hours
You probably don’t get enough sleep if you’re constantly tired during the day.
The most common causes are:
- stress, anxiety or depression
- a room that’s too hot or cold
- uncomfortable beds
- alcohol, caffeine or nicotine
- recreational drugs like cocaine or ecstasy
- jet lag
- shift work
Illnesses and other things that can cause insomnia
How you can treat insomnia yourself
Insomnia usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.
- 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
- do not smoke, or drink alcohol, tea or coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed
- do not eat a big meal late at night
- do not exercise at least 4 hours before bed
- do not watch television or use devices right before going to bed – the bright light makes you more awake
- do not nap during the day
- do not drive when you feel sleepy
- do not sleep in after a bad night’s sleep – stick to your regular sleeping hours instead
You can get sleeping aids from a pharmacy. However, they won’t get rid of your insomnia and they have many side effects.
Sleeping aids can often make you drowsy the next day. You might find it hard to get things done.
You shouldn’t drive the day after taking them.