INSOMNIA affects about 30 per cent of the British population. With over 12 million prescriptions for sleeping pills written every year, this costs the UK’s NHS £36 million.
However, there are things that can be done to help nod off into a peaceful night’s sleep without reaching for the pills:
– Cognitive behavioural therapy. This is a type of psychotherapy that can help change the way you think and behave, overcoming negative beliefs about sleep. More than 100 clinical trials have shown that it is the most effective long-term solution for insomnia.
– Wake up gradually. With mornings becoming darker, by the day use specially-designed lamps that gradually increase the amount of light they emit, creating an artificial dawn or dusk. As evening approaches, use the lamps in reverse to create an artificial dusk encouraging relaxation.
– Sleep hygiene. The bedroom should be used just to sleep so remove any work, televisions and phones. All office equipment and laptops should be removed from the bedroom, and do not eat or drink there. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day and avoid late-night stimulants like caffeine.
– Block out noise. White-noise therapy has shown to help patients sleep in noisy environments. A device that gives out a constant hum (such as the sound made by a fan blowing air) can be helpful to eliminate other noises.