Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping. It usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.
Check if you have insomnia
You have insomnia if you regularly:
You can have these symptoms for months, sometimes years.
Do you have a sleep problem?
Most people experience problems with sleep in their life. In fact, it's thought that a third of Brits will have episodes of insomnia at some point.
The causes can include physical conditions, psychological conditions (such as depression or anxiety) or a combination of both.
How much sleep you need
Everyone needs different amounts of sleep.
On average, we need:
You probably do not get enough sleep if you're constantly tired during the day.
What causes insomnia
The most common causes are:
How you can treat insomnia yourself
Insomnia usually gets better by changing your sleeping habits.
How a pharmacist can help with insomnia
You can get sleeping aids from a pharmacy. But they will not get rid of your insomnia and they have many side effects.
Sleeping aids can often make you drowsy the next day. You might find it hard to get things done.
You should not drive the day after taking them.
See a GP if:
Treatment from a GP
A GP will try to find out what's causing your insomnia so you get the right treatment.
Sometimes you'll be referred to a therapist for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
This can help you change the thoughts and behaviours that keep you from sleeping.
GPs now rarely prescribe sleeping pills to treat insomnia. Sleeping pills can have serious side effects and you can become dependent on them.
Sleeping pills are only prescribed for a few days, or weeks at the most, if: