Sleep – or lack of it – is one of the most common 21st century health complaints. Only 1 in 10 of us say we always sleep well; 1 in 5 suffer from lack of sleep; and two thirds say we get less sleep now than we did a few years ago – around 90 minutes less, according to one leading American sleep expert.
There are many different views as to how much sleep we need – eight hours is often quoted, but some of us need less; and some more. The simplest answer is enough sleep to feel refreshed in the morning and stay awake and alert throughout the day.
If lack of sleep is a problem – what should you do about it? Do you realise that often the solution lies in our own hands and simply requires some simple changes to our sleep environment and lifestyles – probably even less arduous than going on a diet to lose weight, although, like a diet, it might take a few weeks to get into the habit of new habits.
Use our Quick Links on the right for tips on specific sleep scenarios that might be relevant for you.
Consult your doctor if:
- If you think you’re getting enough sleep but still feel very tired during the day
- If you fall asleep mid conversation or during meals
- If you collapse when you laugh or experience other strong emotions
- If you physically enact your dreams, lash out and injure yourself or your partner while you are asleep
- If your partner is regularly disturbed by your snoring, sleep talking or walking
- If you thrash about a lot while asleep
- If there is unexplained damage to your home in the morning or evidence of missing food
- You’ve started or changed any medication and found your sleep affected
These are all tell-tale signs of various sleep disorders
The insomnia helpline aims to advise and reassure those who are having trouble sleeping. Don’t be alone – phone the helpline on 020 8994 9874. Monday to Friday, 6pm to 8pm.