Sleep Disorders - Advise on how to get a restful nights sleep

Posted by James Cloney on

Sleeplessness nytol tablets

Sleep Disorders - Introduction

At least 1 in 3 people experience an occasional night of restless sleep. An average of a third of our lives is spent asleep. During sleep the body conserves and restores energy, and repairs and revitalises tissues. If the body is denied this opportunity even for a couple of days it results in an overall reduction of physical and mental energy. It can also affect the body's immune system and make people more prone to infection or illness.

Sleeplessness may present itself in a number of different ways. It may be a difficulty in falling asleep, waking several times during the night or early morning waking.

Sleeplessness may stem from a variety of sources including:

  • Stress
  • Pain Anxiety, depression
  • Bereavement
  • Financial or family problems
  • Noise
  • Jet lag
  • Late night exercise ◦ Caffeine Alcohol •Sleeping in an unfamiliar environment
  • Napping during the day

How much sleep do people need?

The brain determines the state of wakefulness and sleep. Sleep patterns are generally triggered by environmental changes, mainly the cycle of day and night.

Most people consider that 7-8 hours sleep is the ideal. However in reality adults vary in the amount of sleep they need, from 5 hours or less a night to 10 hours or more The quality of sleep is more important than the quantity. The need for sleep is partly influenced by daytime activity, growth and metabolic rate. People with high metabolic rate and those who are active tend to sleep for Ionger periods.

Sleeping patterns change with age. Elderly people, 70+ years, are likely to need 2-3 hours less sleep than young adults. Therefore insomnia in the elderly can often be more perceived than real. An elderly person may continue to expect to sleep for 8 hours a day as they did when they were 20.


Treatment sleeplessness

The treatment of sleeplessness depends to a large extent on the cause of it. People with temporarary sleeplessness can be helped by reistablishing natural sleep habits. There are several things you can do to try and sleep better:

 • Avoid taking naps or sleeping during the day

Go to bed and get up at the same times each day.

• Make sure the bed is comfortable.

• Have warm bath to relax you before going to bed.

• Make sure the bedroom is dark, quiet, not too hot or cold and not too humid. Avoid strenuous exercise late in the evening.

• Avoid substances that intertere with sleep close to bedtime caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

• Put anxieties away and let the body and mind unwind before bed. Try writing down unresolved problems and leaving them until the next day. than tossing and turning in the bed.

• If you cannot sleep soon after going to bed, get up and do something else, e.g. read a book, rather than tossing and turning in the bed

Some people may need to restore their sleep pattern. There are two main types of preparation available OTC:

• Herbal sleep remedies

• Antihistamines


Herbal Sleep Remedies

Insomia may be greatly helped by a placebo effect. A placebo is an inactive substance given for a condition that has no'activity for the condition being treated but results in the patient feeling better. However there is evidence that certain herbs help relaxation and sleep in some people Ingredients used in herbal preparations include:

• Valerian

• Gentian

• Passiflora

• Humulus

• Hops remedies.


These products are available from self-selection and are favoured by those who prefer natural remedies


 Diphenhydramine day, especially if it is taken late in the evening is easily absorbed with a rapid onset of action. This helps to reduce the tire drowsiness the next day. It can be used in adults over 18 years of age.

Antihistamines used in sleep aids are chemically non-addictive. However it they are taken on regular basis they can become habit forming By taking Sleeping aids on an occasional basis the chance of any dependence is reduced

If sleeplessness persists for more than two weeks customers should be advised to see their doctor

Who should see a GP

  • Under 18 years
  • Pregnant or breast feeding women .Asthmatics
  • Customers with glaucoma
  • If  already taking:


    • Antihistamines
    • Cough/cold treatments
    • Hay fever remedies
    • Antidepressants
    • Sedatives
    •  Tranquillisers


Sleep Disorders in Children

Young babies/toddlers can often have unusual sleeping patterns. This can lead to frustrated an irritable parents.

There are several causes of sleep disturbance in young children:

  • Colic
  • Constipation
  • Coughs and colds
  • Earache
  • Nappy rash
  • Oral thrush
  • Teething
  • Reactions to additives and E numbers

Treating the problem will normally result in the child's sleep pattern returning to normal.

It is important to establish a bedtime routine so that the child is aware he/she is going to bed re should have a regular sleeping pattern - too much napping during the day may mean that the child does not sleep well during the night.

Advice to Parents

  • Treat any underlying problems e.g. teething
  • Establish a regular sleep pattern.
  • Is the child comfortable?
  • If the child wakes during the night then:
  • Do not turn on the light
  • Avoid TV/radio
  • Do not allow to play with toys
  • Show sympathy
  • Seek help from the Health visitor or doctor.,

There are no medications available over the counter to help sedate young children. Promethazine is not licensed for use in childhood sleeping disorders.

Medical evidence has found promethazine to be associated with cot death in children under 2 years



Snoring is not a serious problem however it can be irritating for other people trying to get to sleep in the same room or house.

Snoring occurs when the person breathes through the mouth instead of the nose. This may be because they are having difficulty breathing generally, congestion in the nasal passages or another respiratory condition. Snoring seems to be exacerbated in some people after the consumption of alcohol.

If snoring becomes a regular occurrence there are nasal strips available over the counter. The strips are placed onto the nose and help to open up the nasal passages. This helps the person to breathe.


Some snorers may need to wear the nasal strips each night for up to a week to reduce snoring. This allows the body time to adapt to breathing through the nose rather than the mouth

Nasal sprays are now also available.