Insomnia and how to beat it

Written by
Isabella Williams

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that means you experience sleep problems. You might have insomnia if you...

  • find it difficult 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.
  • continue to feel tired after waking up.
  • find it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired.
  • feel irritable during the day because of tiredness.
  • might find it hard to concentrate on your work because of tiredness.

You may have had these symptoms for months or even years. It’s thought that a third of Brits will experience Insomnia at some point in their life. Not sleeping is very serious because it can lead to other more severe issues, like a weakened immune system.

How much sleep do you need?

On average adults need 7 to 9 hours sleep, children need 9 to 13 hours sleep, and toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours sleep.

What causes insomnia?

The most common causes of insomnia are:

  • Stress, anxiety or depression
  • Noise
  • When you have a poor sleeping environment or your room or bed is too hot or too cold
  • An uncomfortable bed
  • Alcohol, caffeine or nicotine before bed
  • Jet lag
  • Shift work
  • Allergies
  • Gastronomical problems
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma

If you’re still experiencing insomnia and none of these causes apply to you, your insomnia could be related to the following or the medication that you’re taking for these illnesses….

  • Mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
  • Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Overactive thyroid

Sometimes simple things might prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep like…

  • Long-Term pain
  • Sleepwalking
  • Snoring, interrupted breathing while sleeping or sleep apnoea
  • Suddenly falling asleep anywhere or narcolepsy
  • Nightmares or night terrors (children are especially susceptible to these)

According to the NHS, insomnia can be mitigated by changing some of your sleeping habits.

Things to do that might help your insomnia…

According to the NHS, insomnia can be mitigated by changing some of your sleeping habits, for example...

  • Make a schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day and only going to bed when you feel tired. This will give you a regular sleep pattern.
  • Try making a sleep diary. It can help to see when you're awake, your bedtimes, and how you feel at various times in the day.
  • Relax at least one hour before bed. For example, take a bath or read a book.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. You can ensure this by installing thick curtains or blinds and using an eye mask or earplugs.
  • Exercise regularly during the day.
  • Make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable and that you're sleeping hygienically in clean sheets.
  • Get out of bed if you can’t sleep. Don’t worry about trying to force yourself to sleep if you can’t. Tossing and turning will only heighten your anxiety.
  • Move clocks away from your bedside. Watching the time tick away will provoke your insomnia.
  • If you suspect that your insomnia is caused by stress and anxiety, try writing down any negative thoughts that run through your head and try to combat them.
  • Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. Imagine every muscle relaxing one by one.
  • Focus on your breathing using your abdominal muscles. By involving your belly as well as your chest, you are relaxing your lower back and ribcage. Breathe deeply and make each breath slower than the last.

Equally, there are things that you should avoid so that you can sleep better, for example:

  • Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, tea or coffee at least six hours before going to bed.
  • Don’t eat a big meal before bed.
  • Don’t exercise at least four hours before going to bed.
  • Don’t watch TV or use devices right before going to bed. The blue light from screens makes you more awake.
  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Don’t drive when you feel sleepy.
  • Don’t sleep in after a bad night’s sleep, stick to a regular schedule

Can I get help from the pharmacist for insomnia?

You can get sleeping aids from the pharmacy, but this won’t get rid of your insomnia. Some medicines also have other side effects. They may make you drowsy the next day, and actually aggravate the problem. You also might not be able to concentrate the next day, so make sure if you do take them, you don’t drive the day after.

Make sure you see a GP if trying these changes do not work, you’re experiencing chronic insomnia or your insomnia is affecting your daily life and you feel like you can’t cope. A GP will then try and find out what is causing your insomnia or refer you to a cognitive behavioural therapist.

How can Middletons help?

If you’re having problems sleep because your mattress is not comfortable or you’re waking up with neck, back, or leg pain, you could get better sleep with an adjustable mattress and bed.

Did you know that sleeping flat, as you do on a conventional mattress, puts pressure on certain areas of your body? This is because of the gap under your neck, lower back and behind your knees.

These curves need to be supported to prevent pain, and an adjustable bed does just that. At the touch of a button, an electric adjustable bed moves you into the ideal sleeping position, supporting all those pressure points and helping you enjoy a more restful night’s sleep.

Middletons Adjustable beds

If you need more information call us on 0800 999 4850.

Or if you want to try out our mattresses for yourself find your closest store with our Store Finder.


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