Many people have problems sleeping; whether it is a problem falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping well. Sleep advisor Marianna Kilburn talks us through the types of sleep problems, their causes and what can be done to help.
Sleep problems come near the top of health issues that prompt web searches.
An increasing number of people find that getting a good night’s sleep can be a real pain. Estimates of the number of people suffering from sleeping problems vary:
It is said that up to 25% of the UK population have problems getting restful or good sleep
Some studies suggest that up to 40% of people complain of having ‘sleep problems'
Other studies indicate that between 23% and 34% of people suffer from problems sleeping including insomnia.
Whatever the true figure is, it is clear that many people around us feel that they can’t sleep or have problems sleeping well.
Sleep problems are different from sleep disorders which are medical conditions that can affect your sleep, such as sleep apnoea.
Types of sleep problem
In general, people experience three patterns of sleeping problems:
Difficulty getting to sleep - this is probably the most common. With normal sleep, you should be unconscious well within 30 minutes. However, some people find that it can take a few hours to fall asleep but once this is achieved, the quality of sleep is good
Poor quality sleep - on the other hand, there are those who have no problem getting to sleep but are light sleepers, waking up often with the slightest noise. Once awake, they have difficult falling back to sleep
Waking up early - this may or may not be a problem. Some people enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn to get on with their daily lives, uninterrupted by others. However, others who wake up early could suffer from low mood or depression.
Causes of sleeping problems
Problems with sleep can be caused by a large number of factors. Despite this variety, they can in general be placed into two categories:
Lifestyle – these cover many factors from the environment in which you sleep in, the amount of stress you are coping with to your age. Having a new-born baby is definitely a change in lifestyle and is a common cause of sleep deprivation, and work stress is thought to contribute to the estimate that 60% of workers have their worst night's sleep on a Sunday
Sleep hygiene is the term used to describe a set of steps you can take to promote good sleeping habits. Making some simple changes to your surroundings or your lifestyle could help you sleep better at night. These will include:
Making yourself as comfortable and relaxed as possible
We all know the impact of a bad night’s sleep which is why I’ve devised a personalised 6 day sleep plan to help you conquer your sleep problems, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to get a better night’s sleep.
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