Insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep or stayin asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning.

It's a common problem thought to regularly affect around one in every three people, and is particularly common in elderly people.

If you have insomnia, you may:

- Find it difficult to fall asleep.

- Lie wake for long periods at night.

- Wake up several times during the night.

- Wake up early in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep.

- Not feel refreshed when you get up.

- Find it hard to nap during the day, despite feeling tired.

- Feel tired and irritable during the day and have difficulty concentrating.

Insomnia is the body's way of saying that something isn't right. Things that may cause insomnia include:

- Stress.

- Anxiety.

- Depression.

- Too much caffeine, alcohol or nicotine.

- Pain from medical conditions such as arthritis.

- Changes in work shifts.

- Poor sleep habits, such as an irregular sleep schedule.

- Worrying too much about not being able to sleep.


Learning good sleep habits may help treat insomnia. Behavior therapy can teach you about good sleep habits. Behavior therapy for sleep usually includes learning ways to relax and not worry as much about sleep. You can also learn muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises to help you relax.

Prescription sleeping pills such as zopiclone or zolpidem help you sleep better. Side effects of prescription sleeping pills, particularly in elderly people can include excessive drowsiness, trouble thinking and problems with balance.