Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. It is characterised by finding it difficult to get to or stay asleep. If you lie awake in the middle of the night or you’re used to waking during the small hours, this article may prove helpful.

Causes of insomnia: what’s keeping you awake at night?

There are several possible causes of insomnia. One of the most common issues people face is stress. Stress can make you feel anxious, and it may be hard for you to switch off when bedtime comes around. Stress may be associated with difficult life events, pressure at work or problems like unemployment. You may also feel stressed if you’ve been having trouble sleeping of late. You may get to the stage when you’re worried about going to bed because you assume that you can’t sleep.

Illness can also cause insomnia. Perhaps you have difficulty getting comfortable because you suffer from back pain, or you’ve injured your leg. You may experience migraines, or you might have chronic health problems that cause you discomfort during the night.

Your sleeping environment may also play a role. Do you find it hard to drift off because it’s noisy outside? Do you wake early because your room is light? Is your bed uncomfortable?

Insomnia may also be associated with a muddled sleep routine. If you get into the habit of going to bed very late, you’ll struggle to get to sleep if you decide to have an early night.


Tackling insomnia

The first thing to do if you’re a victim of insomnia is determine the underlying cause. In some cases, there may be a simple solution. You could wear earplugs or a sleep mask to block out noise and light, for example. However, in other cases, tackling the issue may be more complex.

Coping with stress will help you to sleep better, but it may not be as easy as it sounds. Different techniques work for different people. Some people benefit from talking about their problems or taking a break. Others find exercise beneficial. Other stress management methods you may wish to try include meditation and massage. Hobbies like fishing, painting, or listening to music may also help you to relax. If you can’t manage stress effectively, don’t hesitate to seek advice from your GP.

Adapting your sleep routine and your sleeping environment should be relatively straightforward. Options you should bear in mind include investing in thick blinds or curtains and replacing your mattress. Search online for reviews of mattresses, such as king-size mattresses from John Ryan by Design, for example. Make an effort to change the time you go to bed. Aim to get eight hours of sleep per night. If you go to bed and get up at a similar time, your body clock will become accustomed to a new sleep pattern.

If you’re in pain or you feel unwell, and it’s affecting your ability to sleep, ask your doctor for advice.


Insomnia affects most of us at some point in our lives. If you have trouble sleeping, try and pinpoint a cause. Once you’ve done this, you can start thinking about how to address it. There may be simple solutions and self-help techniques you can try. If everything fails, seek medical advice.

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