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Mental Health – Insomnia

Mental Health – Insomnia
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Insomnia means you have an ongoing problem with sleeping. A poor sleeping pattern can often be caused by anxiety, panic, or a low mood. On average adults need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep per day. You can usually try to overcome insomnia by changing your sleeping habits and identifying the cause of it.

Symptoms of Insomnia:

  • Difficultly getting to sleep
  • Waking up several times during the night
  • Waking up early and can't go back to sleep
  • Lie awake at night
  • Still feel tired after waking up
  • Find it hard to nap during the day even though you're tired
  • Feel tired and irritable during the day
  • A difficultly concentrating during the day because you're tired
  • You can have these symptoms for months

The most common causes of Insomnia are:

  • Stress, anxiety, or depression
  • A room that's too hot or cold
  • Uncomfortable beds
  • Alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine
  • There are some illnesses and medications that can disrupt sleep. Talk to your GP, Pharmacist or Health Care Worker if you have concerns about this

How to treat insomnia

Tips for getting a better night's sleep:

  • Avoid watching television or using devices right before going to bed
  • You should avoid smoking, or drinking alcohol, tea, or coffee for at least 6 hours before going to bed
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Relax at least 1 hour before bed
  • Only go to bed when you feel tired
  • Make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable
  • Exercise regularly during the day

Triggers for a bad night’s sleep:

  • Eating a big meal late at night
  • Exercising at least 4 hours before bed
  • Napping during the day
  • Sleeping in after a bad night's sleep

How a pharmacist can help:

You can get herbal remedies e.g Kalms™ or sedative antihistamines, diphenhydramine e.g Nytol™ from your pharmacy. However, they won't get rid of your insomnia symptoms permanently and they have many side effects. These remedies can often make you drowsy the next day. You might find it hard to get things done.

They could also interact with other medications. Be sure to let your pharmacist know what tablets you are already taking.

When to see your Doctor:

  • When changing your sleeping habits hasn't worked
  • If you've had trouble sleeping for months
  • If the insomnia is affecting your daily life in a way that makes it hard for you to cope


Insomnia - HSE.ie