What is insomnia?

When you have insomnia, you have some issues when trying to get to sleep (or sometimes you might have issues staying asleep), or you might not be able to sleep for enough time to feel fully refreshed by the next morning, even if you have actually had enough available time to sleep.

Most people have sleeping issues at some point during their lives. Around one third of those living in the United Kingdom will probably have insomnia episodes. Insomnia is a condition that tends to affect us more as we get older, and is also more prevalent in women.

What symptoms are associated with insomnia?

Everyone has different sleep requirements and patterns; consequently, it is not an easy task to truly define ‘normal sleep’. Many aspects come into play when we try to determine how much sleep you actually need (e.g. your lifestyle, your environment, how old you are, and your current diet). Your mood can also be affected negatively by insomnia-related fatigue, which can then lead to relationship issues both with your loved ones and with your colleagues in the working environment.

The most commonly occurring insomnia symptoms include having difficulty when trying to fall asleep. Other people have problems with waking up during the night and some people might also feel that they have woken up ‘too early’ in the morning. Another issue with insomnia is that you can also feel both tired and/or irritable so that it is difficult to manage throughout the day.

What causes insomnia?

  • Depression
  • Asthma
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Certain medications

What can you do to alleviate your insomnia?

When it comes to getting to sleep at night, there are a couple of simple steps you can take to help with the sleep process:

  • Avoid eating heavy meals later on at night
  • Avoiding drinking caffeine later on in the daytime
  • Wake up each day at a regular time
  • Try some relaxation (e.g. listening to calming music or taking a hot bath an hour or so before bed)
  • Wear earplugs plus an eye mask and put up some thick curtains/blinds to keep out any noise and light that might wake you

Your IPSA Medical insomnia consultation

If you are finding that you cannot stay asleep, you cannot get enough sleep, or you cannot get to sleep, alongside your insomnia having a detrimental effect on your daily life, then you should visit your IPSA Medical practitioner for your same-day, full-length IPSA Medical insomnia consultation.

Working with a client-centred approach to your diagnosis and treatment, your IPSA Medical specialist will talk to you regarding your daily alcohol/caffeine consumption, your sleep routines, and your lifestyle habits (e.g. your exercise regime and your diet), whilst encouraging you to voice any concerns and ask questions. Your IPSA Medical clinician will analyse your past medical history to assess if any illnesses/medications might be responsible for your inability to sleep, for you not getting enough sleep or for you not then being able to remain asleep. Your IPSA Medical clinic is a private and confidential facility.

What medications are available at my IPSA Medical clinic for insomnia?

Sleeping tablets

Hypnotics (otherwise known as sleeping tablets) are medications that encourage you to fall asleep. Your IPSA Medical physician might consider prescribing these for you if you present with fairly severe insomnia symptoms and if the sleep hygiene suggestions have not worked for you (such as reducing caffeine etc. mentioned above). Your IPSA Medical clinician might also prescribe hypnotics to ease short-term insomnia.

Anxiety medication

Your clinician might prescribe anti-anxiety medication, tranquillisers that work by reducing your anxiety and promote relaxation, making you calmer and more able to sleep. However, this medication should only be taken if your insomnia symptoms are severe and are associated with extreme distress.

Extreme Insomnia

There is medication for the short-term treatment of extremely ‘debilitating’ insomnia symptoms or is prescribed by your IPSA Medical specialist if your insomnia is causing you high levels of stress.

Short term insomnia treatment

Other medicine, which is also licensed for use for short-term insomnia treatment, is generally prescribed when you have difficulty in falling asleep, when you wake during the night, or for anyone with long-term insomnia associated with severe distress or when your insomnia is debilitating.


Antidepressants can be prescribed by your IPSA Medical physician if you are currently suffering from insomnia; antidepressants can be useful when you also present with a history of depression.


Medications containing melatonin have been proven to be effective at relieving insomnia in the elderly for a period of up to 26 weeks.

Melatonin helps with insomnia because it regulates your sleep cycle (which is called the ‘circadian rhythm’). The melatonin hormone is produced naturally within your body.

If you are currently experiencing insomnia, call your IPSA Medical clinic or visit us online to book your same-day IPSA Medical full-length insomnia consultation.

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