After counting sheep and counting backwards, you are tossing and turning in bed and watching the time go by on your alarm clock. Wide-awake you are wondering if you will ever fall asleep. You may only experience sleeplessness now and then, as everyone does, but if it happens night after night, you could have insomnia. 1a
What is insomnia?
Ongoing sleeplessness is a sleep disorder that impacts millions of people worldwide.2a
Like eating, drinking and breathing, sleep influences your physical, mental and psychological health, and is essential for your body to function. Struggling to fall asleep or waking up feeling tired or unrested on a regular basis means you are likely not getting the recommended 7 – 9 hours of shut eye a night.
What causes insomnia?
While insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, it is in fact a symptom of another problem3a and the problem that causes it differs from person to person. Causes could be as simple as drinking too much caffeine during the day, heavy meals close to bedtime, or a more complex issue like stress, anxiety or an underlying medical condition. 2b, 3b
Different types of insomnia
There are various types of insomnia, which can loosely be differentiated by how often they occur and how long they last.
If you struggle to fall asleep for a relatively ‘short’ period of time (days, weeks or months) you may have acute insomnia. Acute insomnia often follows an identifiable cause such as a jet lag, a change in your job, or receiving bad news.2c It often goes away without requiring any treatment.4a
Chronic insomnia usually means your sleep problems persist for a longer period of time and may have multiple causes. If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep for a longer period of time (more than 3 months, at least 3 nights a week) you may have chronic insomnia.2d Some people with chronic insomnia have a long-established history of sleeping difficulty.2e
Other types of insomnia
- When insomnia occurs with other conditions such as depression and certain medical conditions it is known as comorbid insomnia.
- Onset insomnia occurs when you have difficulty falling asleep when you go to bed at night
- Maintenance insomnia is when you are unable to stay asleep2f
It is important to know which type of insomnia you have in order to know how to treat it.
Understanding your sleep cycles
While you sleep you go through several sleep cycles, each of which has two main stages.
- You enter the first stage when you fall asleep (NREM or non-rapid eye movement)
- When you enter the second stage 60-90 minutes later, your breathing becomes faster and your eyes may move rapidly (REM or rapid eye movement) – you also dream for 5 to 30 minutes
Tips to improve sleep
- Set a daily bedtime / wake up schedule and stick to it as much as possible on weekdays and weekends
- Get a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise no later than two hours before bed
- Avoid drinking large quantities of coffee late in the day, after 3 to 4pm particularly if you are sensitive to caffeine as it can stay in your blood stream for up to 6 hours5a
- Read food labels – you may be surprised to know that chocolates, breakfast cereals, ice-cream and frozen yoghurt may contain caffeine4b
- Avoid nicotine late in the day6a – better yet, quit smoking as it can severely damage your health
- Avoid drinking alcohol before bed6b as it can lead to disrupted sleep patterns5b
- Relax before bed by reading a book, taking a warm shower, listening to calming music or practicing deep breathing
- Remember your bedroom is a place of relaxation not for working, surfing the Internet, watching TV – no bright lights and loud sounds6c
- Turn off all blue-light gadgets such as TV, cell phone, tablet6d 1-2 hours before going to bed as they trick your body into thinking its daytime5c
- Daytime napping can confuse your biological clock, but if you must nap during the day, make it a short power nap no later than midday to early afternoon5d
- Consider taking a supplement to induce relaxation and improve your sleep quality
ReDormin® for insomnia relief
Clinically researched for more than 10 years, ReDormin® is a natural medicine that relieves night time stress and tension while supporting deeper, more restful sleep. It works to restore healthy sleep patterns usually within 2 weeks.7a
Helps you to fall asleep faster
ReDormin® is shown to significantly reduce time to fall asleep by 79%.8
Reduces night time waking
ReDormin® is shown to triple the number of people staying asleep throughout the night – without waking or waking only once.9
Improves quality of sleep
Research shows that ReDormin® helps to restore healthy sleep patterns within 2 weeks7b and helps to improve sleep quality – 4 out of 5 people woke up feeling refreshed.7c
Some people experience greater difficulty falling or staying asleep after they stop taking sleeping pills.12a This is known as rebound insomnia.12b However, no cases of rebound insomnia have ever been recorded in people taking ReDormin®. Likewise, it does not have the common side effects of many medications that have a sedating effect, such as daytime drowsiness, dizziness, feeling mentally slow, struggling to concentrate or experiencing a morning hangover-like feeling.
Please note: This is educational information only and should not be used for diagnosis. For more information on insomnia, consult your healthcare professional.
- Everyday Health. Why Can’t I Sleep? – Both Acute and Chronic – Explained. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/insomnia/why-cant-sleep-insomnia-both-acute-chronic-explained/. Accessed 14 February 2019.
- National Sleep Foundation. What causes Insomnia? Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/what-causes-insomnia. Accessed 14 February 2019
- Help Guide. What to Do When You Can’t Sleep. Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/insomnia-causes-and-cures.htm/. Accessed 14 February 2019
- org. How Insomnia Differs from Occasional Sleeplessness. Available at: https://www.sleep.org/articles/insomnia-vs-occasional-sleeplessness/. Accessed 14 February 2019.
- 17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better#section2. Accessed 14 February 2019.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep. Accessed 14 February 2019.
- Fussel A, et al. Eur J Med Res. 2000;5:385-390.
- Koetter U, et al. Phytopher Res. 2007;21:847-851.
- Lataster MJ, et al. Notabene Medici. 1996;4:182-185.
- Sleep Health Foundation. Insomnia. Available at: https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/pdfs/Insomnia.pdf. Accessed 14 February 2019.
- Very Well Health. Stopping Sleeping Pills and Rebound Insomnia.
- Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/rebound-insomnia-how-long-sleep-worsens-after-stopping-pills-3014747. Accessed 4 March 2019.