I felt that insomnia, or sleeping difficulties, was an important topic to discuss for two main reasons – it is so common and it can really make people’s lives a misery when sleeplessness has been ongoing for a while. Patients have come to see me and the first thing that they have said is “help me sleep”, with a look of desperation on their face. There are a few lifestyle hints and tips that might cure your sleeping problem, which I have discussed in my videos. If you are still not able to sleep then a visit to your doctor would be a good idea, especially if your sleepless nights are impacting on your work and life during the day.
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What causes sleep problems?
I am guessing that you have not always had a problem sleeping and I will always ask my patients “What has changed?” so that I can try and work out what has triggered the lack of sleep. Stress is a common cause and insomnia is one of the clinical features of depression that need to be considered by your doctor. The trigger maybe financial or relationship worries or possibly problems at work but whatever the trigger is, it needs to be identified and dealt with. The subject of your thoughts that stop you from sleeping or the thoughts that are in your mind when you wake too early are likely to be related to your triggers.
If you can identify a trigger, the next step is dealing with it, and this may require counselling. This will help you discuss the trigger objectively with a counsellor and your doctor can refer you for this. If your sleep difficulties are taking their toll and the healthy sleep tips haven’t done the trick your doctor may be able to prescribe a tablet. However, your doctor may be reluctant to prescribe a tablet, which is not unreasonable. They are likely to be worried about the potential dependency that can quite quickly develop using sleeping tablets like Temazepam and Zopiclone. The dependency can mean that even if you do sort the triggers that caused your sleeping problem you may still struggle to sleep without the tablets. Short treatments, making sure that you do not take a tablet every night will minimise the development of sleep dependency problems.