Insomnia is a condition that can make life very difficult.

If people do not get enough sleep when in bed at night, they are not going to feel refreshed the next day and their cognitive abilities may suffer as a result.

According to the NHS, one-third of UK adults struggle with insomnia to some degree, although it is more common in women and older people. Age, lifestyle, environment and diet are all contributory factors to the development of the ailment.

What are the symptoms?

People will typically struggle to fall asleep at night, while they will also find themselves waking up frequently. This means they are irritable and tired throughout the day.

Acute insomnia is defined as sleep difficulties lasting three months or less, while chronic insomnia are those cases that go on for longer than this.

Dr Jason Ellis, director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research, recently carried out an investigation that looked at the symptoms that see insomnia transition from being acute to chronic.

He said: "This study provides the first prevalence and incidence data for acute insomnia. The results demonstrate that acute insomnia is highly prevalent and is a first step towards a systematic investigation of its natural history."

What action can people take?

Aside from purchasing a new mattress for greater comfort, people should avoid caffeine late at night. As well as this, they should look to have a regular sleep/wake cycle, so they are going to bed waking up at the same time every day.

Taking a warm bath one hour before trying to nod off is a good idea, while relaxation techniques should make people suitably calm.

Seeking treatment

It is important that the underlying health condition causing insomnia is diagnosed and treated. Cognitive behavioural therapy may be offered by a GP and sleeping pills can also be prescribed as a last resort.

Making various lifestyle changes is always recommended, while creating a pleasant sleeping environment could make it easier to doze.

Posted by Elizabeth MewesADNFCR-1744-ID-801452890-ADNFCR