What is Insomnia?
It is common to have problems with sleep during your adult life. However most of the time there is no need for treatment as occasional sleep problems aren’t harmful to your health. If you continually experience sleep issues and it starts to affect your health and daily life, you may need medical help to improve your sleep.
Insomnia is characterised by insufficient or poor sleep, causing you to be tired, and also mood swings that can make it difficult to concentrate and perform to your usual ability. Sleep problems are more common in women than men, and increases with age.
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How is Insomnia diagnosed?
There are no specific tests to diagnose insomnia. Insomnia is defined by poor and/or insufficient sleep that causes tiredness and difficulty concentrating during the day. Symptoms of insomnia may include difficulty falling asleep, waking up several times during the night or lying awake for long periods of time.
When you consult your doctor about your sleep problems, he or she may ask you questions about your sleep pattern, such as:
- Are you stressed, anxious or worried?
- What is your sleep schedule like?
- What is your sleep environment like?
- Do you have any medical conditions or are you taking any medications?
Your doctor may also ask you to keep a sleep diary where you note down how, when and where you sleep and the quality of the sleep.
What are the treatment options for Insomnia?
Insomnia is usually treated with non-pharmacological therapies in the first instance. If there are other underlying causes or conditions, such as depression or anxiety, these should be targeted with treatment first.
Sleeping pills to help with Insomnia
There are different types of sleeping pills used to treat insomnia. Some of them are only indicated for the treatment of insomnia, whereas others are indicated for the treatment of multiple conditions.
Your doctor will recommend suitable sleeping pills based on a number of factors, including your age, any other conditions you may have and whether you are taking any other medicines.
Many sleeping pills may leave you tired and drowsy the day after. This means that your reactions may be affected. Please note, do not drive or operate machinery if you feel affected by drowsiness.