Sleep is important for your health.

Most people need 5 to 9 hours sleep a night. More than 7 hours is recommended for adults. The ideal amount is 8 hours, but everyone is different.

You may not be getting enough sleep if you regularly:

  • wake up feeling tired
  • have trouble getting up
  • feel tired and irritable
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • rely on caffeine (in coffee or tea) or energy drinks to get through the day
  • have trouble coping with stress

Sleep problems are common and usually get better within a few weeks. Try not to worry if your sleep is disturbed for a short while.

The most common cause of sleep problems is poor sleeping habits. For example, sleeping in on weekends or looking at bright screens in bed.

But…….sleep problems can also happen because of:

  • your sleep environment — light, noise and temperature can affect sleep
  • a disrupted routine — shift work, caring for young children or staying up later than usual can change your sleep pattern
  • smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or taking stimulant drugs
  • eating large meals before bed — this can make it harder to stay asleep
  • ageing — older people may sleep less deeply, nap during the day and sleep less at night
  • aches and pains — this can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep
  • health conditions — such as insomniasleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome and asthma
  • menopause symptoms— hot flushes can make it harder to sleep and low levels of the hormone oestrogen can make you pee more at night
  • having to pass urine during the night — this could be after drinking close to bed time or physical things like bladder problems
  • medications — talk to your GP if your medicines stop you from falling asleep or make you sleepy during the day
  • Sometimes sleep problems can be part of other difficulties, such as stressanxiety, or low mood.

Tips for better sleep include:

  • Sticking to a sleep routine
  • Avoiding substances that disrupt sleep
  • Relaxing before bed
  • Calming a racing mind
  • Creating a restful place to sleep
  • Getting up if you cannot sleep
  • Keeping active
  • Avoiding staying up late
  • Keeping a sleep diary


Lots of people ask us for sleeping tablets when they are struggling with their sleep, but did you know that these medications

  • Can reduce your ability to drive safely
  • Can cause a positive results if you are tested for drug driving
  • Are addictive and your body gets used to the effect of these medicines very quickly, so that they may no longer be effective.
  • Can cause some people can become aggressive, agitated and confused.


For this reason we are reluctant to prescribe them and are always encouraging people to wean them.

People who are taking these medications for long periods can benefit from reducing or discontinuing them. Benefits include:

  • IMPROVED QUALITY OF MY SLEEP                                         


Sleep problems – tips and self-help – is a useful resource and worth a look if you are struggling with your sleep.