Do you find it hard to get to sleep? Do you wake up throughout the night and can’t drift off again? Or wake up too early? These are the exhausting symptoms of insomnia, which can affect not only sleep but also your everyday life. One third of Australians experience insomnia at some point in their lives, although only 5% will need professional treatment.
Insomnia usually lasts for a short time, although it can go on for months or even years. Women and elderly people are more likely to suffer from it.
Most people need 7-9 hours sleep each night, so insomnia can lead to tiredness, poor concentration or mood changes. These can affect your ability to function, especially if it goes on for a long time. Insomnia may be experienced for no obvious reason, or it may be due to an underlying cause, such as stress, general health conditions, anxiety, depression, substance abuse or a sleep disorder. Learning good sleep habits and lifestyle changes can help you overcome insomnia. A doctor or health professional can give advice on effective strategies. Some online programs such as the Recharge sleep app by ReachOut.com are being developed for personal use at home to help people with insomnia.
Last reviewed: October 2014