Sleep Disorders - The Facts

What is sleep?

We need sleep in order to give our bodies time to rest, build up strength and heal. It is essential for our physical functioning and mental wellbeing.

What are sleep disorders?

Did you know there are at least 78 recognised sleep disorders? These range from short-term sleep disturbances, to insomnia (the inability to get to sleep and/or stay asleep) to narcolepsy (the inability to stay awake). Often, sleep problems are short term and self-help measures can be effective in aiding a healthy sleep pattern.

How do I identify a sleep disorder?

You may have a sleep disorder if:

  • You find it hard getting off to sleep
  • You frequently wake in the night
  • You wake too early in the morning
  • You still feel tired after sleep

What is insomnia?

Sominex is designed for the relief of occasional sleeplessness. However, insomnia is more severe and is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and can result in sleepiness, lowered concentration and irritability. Short term insomnia can last from a few nights to three weeks and is often caused by:

  • Stress
  • Change in environmental noise levels
  • Extreme change in temperature
  • A different routine, perhaps due to jetlag
  • Side effects from medicines

Long term insomnia that lasts for 3 weeks or longer and is often a result from a combination of factors, such as:

  • Underlying mental or physical problems
  • Behavioural factors such as too much caffeine or alcohol or a consistent disruption to your routine, such as frequently changing work shifts.

Other sleep disorders include:

  • Sleep apnoea (a breathing problem that occurs during the night, normally accompanied by snoring)

If you have a persistent sleep problem, contact your GP as sleep problems can sometimes be symptoms of other conditions.

Tips For Successful Sleep

Help yourself get a good night's sleep. Follow these tips to help you nod off the natural way!

  • Keep busy. Exercise regularly, but leave a few hours before bedtime to give your body time to wind down
  • Say no to caffeine. Avoid tea, coffee and products containing caffeine such as chocolate, before bedtime
  • Don't drink alcohol. Don't drink a lot of alcohol before going to bed. Although it acts as a depressant at first, allowing you to fall asleep quickly, it acts as a stimulant later on, meaning you'll wake more often
  • Get into the habit. Create a sleep routine by trying to fall asleep and waking up at the same time each day. You could even record your sleep patterns in a sleep diary to help you establish when your sleeping problems occur.