Condition: Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most well-known and common sleep disorders. Insomnia is the inability for an adult to initiate or maintain 7-9 hours of sleep more than 3 times per week. This can have a significant impact on day-to-day life, cause mood issues, and excessive fatigue. Insomnia can also be an indicator for more serious underlying health issues.


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Overview of insomnia

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, with some studies suggesting that this affects up to one in three people in the U.K. Insomnia is when an adult patient has difficultly in initiating (onset insomnia) or maintaining (maintenance insomnia) between 7-9 hours of sleep more than 3 times per week. Insomnia will often lead to a patient waking up feeling unrefreshed and tired throughout the day. This can cause patients suffering with insomnia to develop negative sleep patterns and behaviours. More persistent insomnia can poorly affect everyday life, and has been associated with causing anxiety, depression, excessive fatigue, and a decline in physical health.

There are two main forms of insomnia:

Transient insomnia (under 3 months), which is usually caused by a change in environment or stressful event in life. Often this insomnia can be helped by improving a patients sleep hygiene. A patient should monitor their symptoms to see if their condition develops into more persistent insomnia, and if they are worried about their insomnia, or it is affecting their day-to-day life, they should seek medical advice.

Chronic insomnia (over 3 months) can seriously affect a patient’s quality of life. And may need more specific forms of treatment.

Learn more about the negative impact that lack of sleep has on our daytime functioning in this article.

Diagnosis for insomnia

If you're experiencing long-standing sleep problems such as difficulty getting to sleep or waking up throughout the night and lying awake, a comprehensive assessment by a healthcare professional is recommended. Typically at OneWelbeck, the first step is to have a consultation to discuss medical history, an individual's sleep patterns, habits, and lifestyle factors.
In addition to a clinical evaluation, questionnaires or sleep diaries may also be recommended in order to gather detailed information about the patient's sleep-wake patterns.

Treatment for insomnia

There are a variety of insomnia treatments available at OneWelbeck. These will be advised by the consultant based on the feedback from the diagnostics.

One of the leading treatments for insomnia offered at OneWelbeck is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi). This is a leading method to treat primary insomnia, and as many as 80% of patients experience improvements. During treatment, the sleep consultant teaches and focuses the patient on cognitive restructuring, which is reinforcing positive sleeping behaviours. This is one of the most effective insomnia management technologies. Treatment for CBTi usually lasts between 4-6 sessions. The length will depend on the specific case of the individual (treatment can be as short as two sessions).

In cases where a patient seems to be suffering from comorbid chronic insomnia, the appropriate internal referral to another OneWelbeck centre or external centre shall be made.