It’s estimated that around a third of us have some form of insomnia, and over half will experience insomnia at some point during their lives. Despite growing awareness of the importance of sleeping well, insomnia is a problem that’s on the rise.
This section explores what insomnia really is, from how insomnia can be defined, the symptoms of insomnia, the reasons why people can’t sleep at night, and what you can do yourself to identify and overcome your own insomnia problem.
The Definition of Insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where by people find it difficult to get enough sleep, but not everyone experiences insomnia in quite the same way. For some it may come and go, but others can’t even remember the last time they had a good night’s sleep. Some people can’t fall asleep, whilst others have problems staying asleep. How you can treat your insomnia depends on the kind of insomnia you’re experiencing.
The 3 Types of Insomnia
Insomnia can be categorised into three types depending on the length of time you've been having difficulty sleeping. These are transient, acute, and chronic insomnia.
The 3 Patterns of Insomnia
The patterns of insomnia represent which part during the night you experience insomnia, whether you have problems falling asleep, wake up too early in the morning, or constantly wake up during the night.
Sleep Facts 2013
Insomnia affects huge numbers of us across the country and the problem appears to be getting worse. The article explores the nation's sleep habits to find out how well we sleep and what we can do to sleep better.
Symptoms of Insomnia
The main symptom of insomnia is, rather unsurprisingly, feeling sleepy throughout the day. But not only does insomnia make you feel tired, it also impacts on your health and even simple day to day activities in ways you may not have realised. The articles below outline the symptoms and effects of insomnia, and provide tests you can use to evaluate your own levels of sleepiness.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is one of the main symptoms of insomnia. It can affect your mood, relationships, performance at work, your health, and ultimately your overall quality of life.
Signs and Causes of a Lack of Sleep
A lack of sleep causes a build up of what's known as sleep debt. The longer you go without sleep, the more sleep debt you'll gain. Here's how to tell if you need more sleep, and the three main causes of sleepiness.
A microsleep is a short episode of sleep that can last anywhere from 1 to 30 seconds. They occur during times of sleepiness often without warning, and the person might be unaware that they had fallen asleep.
Lack of Sleep – The Effects
The effects of a lack of sleep are far reaching and can alter our lives in many different ways. Here's a graphical look at the facts and figures showing how a lack of sleep affects your day to day performance.
Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Are you getting enough sleep? The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a famous sleep test used by doctors around the world that can tell if you're getting enough sleep, just by answering eight simple questions.
Stanford Sleepiness Scale
The Stanford Sleepiness Scale is a great way to quickly assess how alert or sleepy you feel. Take the test at intervals throughout the day and discover your own pattern of alertness.
Causes of Insomnia
People experience insomnia for a variety of reasons, which is why there’s no one course of treatment that will work for everyone. Visualisation techniques may help a great deal for someone who feels too stressed to sleep, whilst enforcing a strong sleep pattern would help more for someone who stays up late into the night and finds it difficult to wake up in the morning. Discovering your own cause of insomnia is crucial for finding the most effective treatment.
The Causes of Insomnia
Seven of the most common causes insomnia. I explain how each affects your sleep, and the next steps can you take if one of these is the cause of your insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia Questionnaire
It's not always easy to tell what's causing insomnia, particularly if you've had it for years or think it might be a combination of things. This questionnaire will help you find the primary causes of your insomnia.
Why you Can’t Sleep at Night
The top 5 reasons why people can't sleep at night. I explain the exact nature of each problem, before providing a series of quick fire tailored solutions to help you get better sleep.
Morningness Eveningness Questionnaire
Are you a natural night owl who stays awake until the early hours of the morning, or are you a morning lark who can't help but wake up at the crack of dawn, or are you neither? Take this questionnaire to find out.
The Link between Depression and Sleep Problems
It's not uncommon to feel depressed when you can't sleep, but sometimes depression could be what's actually causing the insomnia, and by treating the depression, the insomnia would naturally fade away.
Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale
If you think you might have depression and that it could be playing a part in your insomnia but you're not sure, this 20 question questionnaire will help identify whether you have depression and to what extent.
Treatment for Insomnia
The key to getting the right treatment for insomnia is to first understand what’s causing it. When you know why you have insomnia, you can take the right steps to overcome it. Sleep isn’t this elusive thing that you somehow need to find. Your body knows exactly how to sleep and can give you all the sleep you need, you just need to find out what’s stopping it.
I get emails from people all the time asking what’s the best thing they can do to help them sleep better, or what I did myself to overcome my own insomnia problem. Doing what I or someone else did to overcome insomnia would be useless unless you have insomnia for the exact same reasons. Take time to understand the nature of sleep and why insomnia occurs, and you will give yourself the best possible chance to overcome insomnia for good.