Insomnia – A beginners guide


If you are reading this, it’s likely you are no “beginner” when it comes to insomnia. You know exactly how it feels, you’ve tried every remedy you can think of and you’ve lived with it for some time. But maybe, you don’t know how it is officially defined? Here you will find information for you (and your loved ones) on how insomnia is diagnosed and conventionally treated.

What is “good” sleep

Most of us know when we have have had a good sleep, but officially, around 7 – 9 hours of quality sleep is considered normal for adults. Quality means that you had no trouble falling asleep, you slept more or less soundly, you fell back to sleep easily if you woke and you woke easily in the morning feeling refreshed. A good sleep is one where you are not tired during the day.

A normal sleep pattern is universal for all people and is remarkably steady. It consists of around 4-5 cycles of 90 mins, where the sleeper goes through several stages of sleep, of varying lengths. These range from a drifting state through to a heavy, deep, almost comatose state. The body needs to experience all of these stages.

The definition of insomnia

The official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) definition of insomnia defines it as a difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep on at least three nights per week for at least three months. In the UK, the NHS describes insomnia as a collection of symptoms including the following:

  • Finding it hard to fall to sleep
  • Waking up several times in the night
  • Lying awake at night
  • Waking up early and being unable to fall back to sleep
  • Finding it hard to nap during the day even if you are very tired
  • Feeling tired and irritable in the day
  • Finding it hard to concentrate due to tiredness

For those with insomnia, the above symptoms are chronic. Meaning that you suffer with them several nights per week and in some cases every night. For some people with insomnia, the thought of a normal or good sleep is so far removed from reality that they don’t even know what it is. Their new reality is disordered sleep.

Why do people get insomnia?

Many of us can identify the reasons why we are not sleeping well. Things like stress, worrying about an event the next day, illness, something we ate, having small children and drinking alcohol or taking drugs can all contribute to periods of poor sleep. But for some, the reasons are far more complex and hard to pinpoint.

Some doctors like to use the three “P’s” way of describing how people get insomnia:

Predisposing factors: This might be a family history or being prone to stress or worrying

Precipitating factors: A lifestyle change such as moving house or a new baby that might be seen as a trigger

Perpetuating factors: This is anything that might result in the insomnia being ongoing, such as health or mental health issues caused by the lack of sleep that lead to additional stress or anxiety. The insomnia could therefore become a learned behaviour even after the initial reason for the insomnia has passed.

Treatments for insomnia

The treatments used for insomnia vary depending on the reasons why you have it. In the case of easily identifiable reasons such as sleeping environment, alcohol or or the wrong diet, simple changes might be enough.

For others it could be due to your sleep pattern being chronically disrupted. Putting a sleep routine into place with the Sleep Infuser and creating the right sleeping pattern could be all you need to get you out of the new pattern your brain has developed around sleep. This has been shown to be very effective.

Where your insomnia is caused by stress, anxiety or depression and the issue has developed into a vicious circle, you may want to add in cognitive behavioural techniques, which could be helpful in your daytime life too.

Insomnia can be life altering and therefore it is something you should be seeking to change however possible. A simply device like the Sleep Infuser might be all it takes, but don’t be afraid to visit your doctor to see if other health related issues might be the cause.


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