Women experiencing sleeping difficulties

Sleeping Difficulty, What You Need To Know

Sleeping difficulty is when you have trouble drifting off at night. It can range from falling asleep to waking up several times throughout the night. 

Sleep difficulty can affect your mental and physical health. Among other things like frequent headaches and trouble concentrating.

Almost everyone will experience difficulty sleeping throughout their lifetime. Most adults need around eight hours of sleep to feel refreshed but, some may feel rested after six or seven.

Sleep difficulty signs include; irritability, waking up throughout the night, taking hours to fall asleep, daytime fatigue, inability to focus, frequent headaches, waking up too early or noticeable dark circles under your eyes. 

Causes of sleeping difficulty

In infants

It’s “normal” for newborns to wake up several times throughout the night. However, after 6 months most infants will start to sleep through the night. We say “normal” because every infant is different. If this statement doesn’t apply to you it is likely because your infant is showing signs of:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Teething or illness
  • Hunger
  • Gas or digestive problems

In adults

There are a lot of potential reasons for a sleepless night including, lifestyle choices, medical conditions, and sleeping habits. Some of which may require medical advice and others may improve with self-care. Some causes include:

What treatment is there for sleeping disorders?

Lifestyle changes

This is likely to be your GP’s first recommendation. This would include: 

  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol a few or more hours before bed
  • Limit daytime napping to 30 mins or none at all 
  • Keep your bedroom dark and cool
  • No screens for at least 1 hour before bed
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Take a hot bath before bed

If you follow these tips you’re likely to see an improvement in your sleep. 

Underlying condition

If you have a medical condition is causing your sleeping disorder, you will need treatment for that first. A common problem is anxiety or depression, which are major players when it comes to sleeping. 

Sleeping aids

You can purchase some of these without a prescription. We don’t recommend using them on a daily basis and you may develop a dependency. Remember always read the directions and take as recommended. 

Side effects of sleeping difficulties

If left untreated, lack of sleep can cause a wide array of problems including:

  • Decreased quality of life
  • Delayed reaction time causing dangerous driving
  • Reduced levels of productivity 
  • Weakened immune system

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