Are you not getting enough sleep?

Not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling exhausted, irritable and accident-prone.

Are you not getting enough sleep?

Did you know that driving after being awake for 24 hours means you are seven times more likely to have an accident?  Not getting a good night’s sleep can leave you feeling exhausted, irritable and accident-prone. But don’t worry, you are not alone.

A recent study estimated that nine per cent of Australians, that’s 1.5 million people, currently suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Each year the economic impact of this is an estimated $5.1 billion in lost productivity, accidents and absenteeism.

Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder, which is the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. It affects anywhere between 13–33 per cent of us, with women being twice as likely to suffer from it compared to men. Middle-aged women in particular may find that their menopause brings years of broken sleep.

What causes insomnia?

There are numerous causes for insomnia: a new baby, shift work, anxiety, chronic pain, caffeine, eating late, sleep apnoea, snoring, menopause or simply not being able to switch off your mind.

While many cases of acute insomnia are due to a particular event, and are temporary, chronic insomnia can be ongoing and have a huge impact on your health and wellbeing. Long-term sleep deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and reduced immunity.

Jean Hailes psychologist Dr Mandy Deeks says, “When you don’t get enough sleep you are more likely to be grumpy, anger easily, find it hard to think clearly and then you can start making mistakes. This can start a negative cycle as you lie awake stressed and anxious about what you said or did during the day because you were short-tempered and you were still tired from lack of sleep the night before.”

Sometimes it is difficult to know what comes first, insomnia or depression, says Dr Deeks. “One of the symptoms of depression is insomnia, and one of the side effects of chronic insomnia is depression and anxiety. If this is happening for you, please see your doctor to talk about your symptoms.”

Beating insomnia  

If you are suffering from insomnia, don’t despair, there are numerous ways to try and resolve the condition. Keeping a sleep diary for a week will help you work out how often you are waking. Take this information to your doctor so you can discuss a plan of action together.

Create a new routine: Eat at least two hours before bedtime, don’t drink caffeine after lunchtime, reduce your alcohol intake, get regular exercise but not in the four hours before bed, switch off your computer or smartphone, and keep the bedroom lights dim.

Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will help reset your body clock. If you are lying in bed unable to sleep, get up, keep the lights dim and do something relaxing.

Mindfulness: This meditative practice is being used worldwide to help people deal with anxiety and to relax. It teaches you to be present in the moment without allowing negative thoughts to stress you out.  Simply focus on your breathing, acknowledge thoughts as they appear but don’t dwell on them. Visit the Jean Hailes website to listen to a podcast on mindfulness.

Counselling: If your insomnia is due to anxiety or depression, a counsellor can help you talk through the issues behind your feelings.

Medicines: Acute or short-term insomnia can often be remedied with a short course of sleep medicines, but these are highly addictive and can only be used for a few weeks.

For more information on how to get a good night’s sleep, visit Jean Hailes.

Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women's Health

1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642)


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    7th Dec 2015
    All good and sensible suggestions, worth trying. If the problem persists, it's definitely worth getting checked out medically. I found out I had sleep apnoea, which I hadn't really been aware of until then. Have been using CPAP successfully since 2008.
    7th Dec 2015
    All good suggestions. I have suffered from insomnia for years and nothing seems to work permanently. GP's are not helpful as all they have available is medication. I have read they get very little training in this field and that is why they just get angry with you when they can't help you. Research has been done with particular foods that help produce melatonin which gets depleted as you get older. Studies have been done in the USA with 100% Montmorency tart cherry juice but even if you can find cherry juice from the USA or anywhere else it does not state what type of cherries are used and usually has other juices mixed in so is not 100% cherry juice and of course the sweet cherries don't contain the right ingredient. The studies also say 2 kiwi fruit 30 minutes before bed has the same effect. I am trialing this at present. I am also using Mindfulness meditation which has been scientifically researched and it is helpful. The other thing I use is a lavender spray from Perfect Potions which you spray in the air or on the pillowslip to relax you just before going to bed. Good luck to all those insomniacs out there, you are not alone. We are a large group.
    7th Dec 2015
    I would be very interested in hearing how you are going with your research!
    I'm a chronic insomniac, I don't sleep during the day (tho I used to) and mostly am still awake at 2:30am. Sleeping tablets don't work, they often have the opposite effect! I drink decaf, etc, to no significant result. Help ????
    7th Dec 2015
    How many hours sleep do we need?
    7th Dec 2015
    Perhaps the technology now used extensively in hospitals in Europe and elsewhere could help anyone suffering with sleep or snoring problems here. This product is registered as a Class 1 medical device for insomnia. Similar to a band aide, around the size of a 20c piece and is simple to use. No drugs, no chemicals, nothing into the body, working like acupuncture but no needles and far more effective. NO harmful side effects and can even be left in place during the day for extra concentration, alertness and reducing stress. Low in cost and most people using this find a residual effect with short term use producing long term relief. ANYONE having sleep problems should be considering this technology!
    7th Dec 2015
    Well Rob what is it and where do I get it and how much is it.
    7th Dec 2015
    "Con" - Most articles I have read say around 7 hrs for everyone and more for the younger age group but it probably depends if you are getting around tired all the time or not.
    "ROB" - There are a lot of reasons for insomnia therefore no one size fits all. What you are suggesting sounds like end-expository airway pressure and pacemaker technology which is a one-way valve into the nostril held by a type of band aid ( and then search for band aid over the nose). This apparently is for sleep apnoea but CPAP is still the treatment of choice for sleep apnoea.
    "Jillybeans" - I am a 66 year old recently retired female. I think my insomnia is caused by a lack of melatonin and an overactive mind which may be hereditary as my mother had the same problem. I say recently retired because I feel my insomnia is slowly improving and this may be due to less stress now that I am retired.
    Mindfull meditation is very calming and good for an overactive mind. I found some Mindfull meditation on the University of Queensland website that I was able to download and store on my desktop. I have also read up on it (The Mindful Path to Self-compassion by Christopher K. Germer, Phd) and attended classes that follow this book which were very relaxing. Research shows it affects the vagus nerve and can also lower high blood pressure. If you have internet access you can ask Google just about anything and it's all valuable information, especially the medical websites.
    This website contains the research on the cherry juice.
    This is what I do -
    Only one cup of coffee per day for breakfast. I drink tea rarely but if I do it would be for lunch. I would say no caffeine after 4.00 pm. Beware of hidden caffeine in Cola drinks, green and herbal teas etc.
    One glass of red wine for dinner hopefully will make you sleepy and may help you get off to sleep but no more as it may wake you up further into the night. Getting off to sleep has improved for me but staying asleep is the main issue.
    A snack of cracker biscuits and cheese before going to bed can also help you get off to sleep but no sweet stuff as sugar can keep you awake.
    Get plenty of exercise. Walking around your neighbourhood doesn't cost anything. Not even the cost of a hat or sunscreen if you do it early morning or late afternoon.
    Enjoy your life and don't stress over ANYTHING because it only does damage to us and does not help.
    Although some information I have read says you can catch up on sleep during the day, I have tried this but just end up feeling worse and then can't sleep at night.
    It is hard to cover everything here so do some research and start experimenting but focus more on doing things that make you happy rather than the insomnia and make yourself top priority. Good luck fellow insomniac!
    7th Dec 2015
    No Hardworker, you could not be further from the truth. This NOT one of those strange devices strapped under the jaw or placed in the mouth. Although I can understand your scepticism; there are so many things on offer and many with a high monetary cost. Please read my first posting again; the technology I mention IS used successfully in many hospitals and also, by the way, is used world wide for disaster victims. I am simply making the post to let people know there are products out there that may need "Looking outside the square" but can also be extremely effective. Regards Rob
    7th Dec 2015
    Actually ROB it's a one-way valve into the notril held in place by a band aid. Maybe you need to go to the website I mentioned.
    7th Dec 2015
    Well Hardworker, my partner and I work directly assisting thousands of people in many countries with the product I mention and it is certainly NOT "The one way valve thingy" you suggest. I am sorry, but you appear to have missed the point - the patch communicates with the body's electrical communication system for effect. It has nothing to do with odd things stuck in the mouth or nose, thank goodness. This patch is already well proven by extensive quality trials, studies and Peer reporting in medical journals.
    8th Dec 2015
    After many years of seeing sleep doctors, doing overnight sleep tests, trying every form of relaxation, lavender on my pillow etc etc.....because I struggled to sleep at night & felt exhausted every day I have just finally been diagnosed with Narcolepsy.
    The problem is all the overnight tests I did don't pick up Narcolepsy. It's the day test after the night that can diagnose this & it had never been done before.
    Apparently it is believed that around 75% of people with Narcolepsy go undiagnosed.
    I am almost 60 & it has been only recently that the severe tiredness I felt made me fall asleep for a split second mid sentence. I had been able to control it for at least 40 years that I can remember.
    It seems to be something that a lot of doctors don't know much about so if you are struggling with serious tiredness during the day & can be very awake during the night check it out.
    Good luck,
    8th Dec 2015
    All of these comments are interesting. I would like to add another point of view.
    Check with your pharmacist and doctor if any medication you are taking increases insomnia.
    Blood pressure medication especially.
    8th Dec 2015
    Rob maybe I missed something but what is the name of the product you are talking about. I have Sleep Apnoea, depression, PTSD etc and have tried the CPAP but most times found that during the night I had pulled the mask off my face so that did not work, tried the shaped pillow which is supposed to force your head up so as to keep the jaw open a a little bit did not seem to work for me after 6 months of trying, tried the mask that goes under the chin and over the top of the head supposed to keep the jaw pushed fwd. This one does work to a certain extent in that I am not quite as tired as I was but with all the drugs I take for my other problems I can rarely get through the day without having a sleep and rarely sleep all night without getting up. I am now looking at a plate that a dentist makes there are a few types but a new one designed in company with CSIRO is just one plate and sits on the top teeth (has to be specially made for your teeth) This plate has a slot in the front of it and this allows Air to be taken into the mouth and therefore assists in the ability to breath all night.
    8th Dec 2015
    ROB It sounds like we may actually be talking about the same thing. Have a listen to the video on the website This article is dated 5 September 2014 by Meir Kryger MD, FRCPC and discusses the latest innovations in the world of obstructive sleep apnoea. The other part of the end-expository airway pressure and pacemaker technology is the pacemaker. The video states -The patient wears a disposable miniaturized valve that fits into the nostril and is attached by an adhesive, sort of like a band aid, and basically it's a one-way valve. The patient can breathe in easily, breathing out, there's a resistance in breathing out, and that creates a back pressure which in some patients opens the airway. In many patients what happens when they have sleep apnoea their tongue falls backwards and their tongue loses tone and so research has been done using a pacemaker technology where there's a probe put around the hypoglossal nerve, that's the nerve that goes to the tongue and it's attached to a lead that's like a pacemaker and this pacemaker fires and it actually pushes the tongue forward and increases the size of the airway. I don't see how you could get what you describe as "electrical communication" without something like this pacemaker device. The only other band aid type patches I can find are spring like bands in a band aid that adheres across the nose which claim to assist sleeping by helping with stuffy noses, congestion of the nose and snoring. Some of the brands are BreatheRight and Walgreens. If what you are talking about is different please give us the proper name and exactly how it works. Of course this is only for sleep apnoea and does not address all the other causes of insomnia.
    8th Dec 2015
    No Hardworker, it is nothing like the devices you mention. They are an attempt to assist with sleep apnoea. The device we use is a Lifewave NON Transdermal patch. This patch contains a sealed area containing a crystalline structure that is able to respond when placed near the body and send a specific signal to the communication system in the body to create an effect. While the technology is often still not accepted by some in the medical system in Australia (They are simply not trained on anything like this) it is very well accepted in many countries overseas, actually used in for pain management in hospitals in France and used extensively in hospitals throughout Europe for Insomnia. The technology is extremely effective for many conditions and because there are no drugs or chemicals going into the body they are very safe with NO harmful side effects. This same technology has been used for many years for the US Military - Navy Seals, Olympic and other high performance athletes, disaster victims worldwide including in Australia and now also used for US Military Purple Hearts (Injured Military personnel). Contrary to the preaching of sceptics the technology is well proven, not a placebo as is actually assisting millions of people.
    8th Dec 2015
    Well there you go everyone. We finally got the specific information out of ROB. The Lifewave NON Transdermal patch. Put this into the Google search engine and read all about this fix everything patch. Just make sure you also read the next website that comes up I also asked Google "what does the medical profession think of Lifewave non transdermal patches". Anyone thinking of trying these out should also read all the information under on the question of who is the manufacturer of Lifewave non transdermal patches. It makes very interesting reading.
    8th Dec 2015
    Yes there are very old links to sceptics that "Felt" because they could not understand how the technology would work that they therefore could not work. Great research on their behalf! You will also notice that there are no later postings, the product is now extensively used by the medical profession overseas so does this mean the medical system is flawed or are the patches actually doing what the clinical studies show? Yes, one needs to take a serious look but do look realistically. Either the medical system using the patches is correct or the so called sceptics are correct? I will leave to intelligent people to find the answers. Try YouTube by the way!

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