Experiencing sleepless nights can happen to anyone for various reasons ranging from shift working, jet-lag or simply excessive eating or caffeine. Short term insomnia can last just a few days or perhaps weeks. However, individuals suffering long-term insomnia experience difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or even both. Insomnia can cause sufferers to feel unrested during the day and to experience tiredness, irritability, headaches, difficulties concentrating, digestive problems as well as anxiety related to sleep.
For individuals who experience insomnia more than three nights a week over a month, this would be classed as chronic insomnia. There may be a variety of factors which influence a person’s chronic insomnia such as pain, chronic stress, anxiety or depression. An experienced therapist can assist with identifying causes of insomnia as well as finding strategies for improving the quality of your sleep which often include changing patterns of behaviour and lifestyle.
Signs that you may be suffering insomnia rather than general lack of sleep and tiredness;
If you regularly have difficulty getting to sleep, waking up frequently in the night, being awake during night, waking early and being unable to return to sleep, feeling tired after waking, difficulties taking siesta or nap during the day even when feeling tired, being tired and feeling irritable during the day, having trouble concentrating during the day due to tiredness.
Insomnia – stimulants, depressants, your body clock, blue-screen and sleep hygiene
Insomnia is most commonly caused by stress, anxiety or depression, stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine, alcohol consumption, recreational drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy, having your body clock upset by jetlag or shift work. Often having a room which is hot, cold or noise can upset sleeping patterns as well as having an uncomfortable bed. Knowledge is growing in relation to sleep hygiene and the use of blue screens before sleep. Viewing LEDs screens are commonly used in TVs, computer screens and handheld electronic devices such as tablets are rich in shortwave length (blue and blue-green) light and the cells in our retina are more sensitive to these which can further upset natural sleep patterns.