Insomnia – is it keeping you awake?

Nearly a quarter of people in Britain have problems with sleep on a regular basis and almost half of us lose sleep because we are stressed or worried about something.

Quality sleep plays a key role in our overall well-being. Not getting the sleep you need on a regular basis can have a huge impact on your quality of life, not to mention your mental and physical health.

After a poor night’s sleep, you can often feel ill tempered, tired and find it hard to concentrate, however, the odd night without sleep  will not harm your health.

You are likely to experience more serious effects after several sleepless nights, your brain may feel foggy making concentration and decision making particularly difficult. You will also be at a higher risk of having an accident or injuring yourself!

Over time, lack of sleep can lead to health problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects as many as 35% of adults. People with this condition can’t fall asleep, stay asleep or get enough restful slumber.

What are the types of insomnia?

Not all types of insomnia are created equal! The condition can come and go, or it may be an ongoing issue.

  1. Short term/acute insomnia tends to last for a few days or weeks and is most commonly triggered by stress
  2. Chronic insomnia is when the sleep difficulties occur at least three times a week for three months or longer
  3. Onset insomnia describes difficulty falling asleep.
  4. Maintenance insomnia is when you have difficulty remaining asleep once you get to sleep or are consistently waking up too early.


The type of insomnia you experience has a lot to do with the underlying causes of this condition. Many things can contribute to the development of a sleep disorder, including environmental, physiological and psychological factors.

  • Unhealthy lifestyle and sleep habits
  • Anxiety, depression and/or other mental health problems
  • Life stressors like your job, relationships financial difficulties etc.
  • Chronic diseases like cancer
  • Chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, arthritis or other conditions
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as heartburn
  • Medications
  • Hormone fluctuations due to menopause, thyroid disease
  • Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease

Hints and tips

Here are five top tips to help improve your quality of sleep:

  1. Chill out before trying to get some sleep. Try reading a book, listening to some relaxing music, meditate if you can or have a warm bath or shower. Did you know that if your bath or shower temperature is too hot it can actually stop you getting to sleep. Your body temperature needs to drop slightly to trigger your body to go to sleep.
  2. Cut back on caffeine and alcohol. If you have trouble sleeping, try to avoid consuming anything containing caffeine – this includes tea, coffee and energy drinks for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. Drinking alcohol before going to bed may help you to get to sleep at first, but it has a negative effect on the quality of sleep you get.
  3. Don’t smoke before going to bed. Just like caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant, so if you smoke, you are less likely to get a good night’s sleep, both the quality and quantity of your sleep is likely to be affected.
  4. Get yourself a bedtime routine. Going to bed and getting up at regular times – even at the weekends – can help your body’s internal clock to get used to a set routine. Pick a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
  5. If you really can’t get to sleep …. Staying in bed tossing and turning for hours may not be the best idea. Get up, go somewhere quiet and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

And finally …..

It is recommended that adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night so that they can function at their best.

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or .