Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. It is thought to affect at least 1 in 10 people in the UK. However, some studies indicate that the disorder could affect as many as 1 in 3 people. It is particularly common for elderly people to suffer from insomnia.

People who have insomnia have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. When sleep is too short, or of poor quality, we tend not to feel refreshed when we wake.

If you have insomnia, you may:

  • find it difficult to fall asleep
  • wake up multiple times during the night, often for long periods
  • wake up too early in the morning
  • not feel refreshed when you get up in the morning
  • feel exhausted
  • become irritable
  • have difficulty concentrating

For some people, a period of insomnia will pass without causing any serious problems, but for others the problem can persist for months or years. Chronic or persistent insomnia can have a significant impact. It is associated with daytime fatigue, reduced quality of life, and increased ill health across a range of studies. It commonly accompanies conditions such depression and chronic pain, but often persists even after these ‘primary’ conditions have been resolved.

It is associated with impaired concentration & memory, new onset psychiatric disease and relationship problems. It is also a risk factor for the development of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

While there are no official guidelines about how much sleep you should get each night, because everyone is different, what's important is whether you feel you get enough sleep, and whether your sleep is of good quality.

If you constantly feel tired and your sleep is affecting you day to day life, then it’s likely that you may have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia. If your sleep is troubling you, you can take our sleep assessment to see if the problem might be insomnia.

Updated 03/08/2018

Did you know?
The less you sleep, the more likely you are to be overweight or obese. Sleep lowers the hormone ghrelin, which boosts your appetite. It also raises the hormone leptin, which makes you feel full. So sleeping less makes you hungrier and gives you more time to eat.