Sleep deprivation is ubiquitous within the UK. A recent study has revealed several shocking statistics concerning the sleeping habits of the adult population of the UK. The findings are summarised below:
• 31% of all UK adults are severely sleep deprived.
• The average sleep score for men and women was 61% and 57% respectively.
• People who reported having poorer health had correspondingly poorer sleep scores.
• The average sleep score tended to decrease with age.
• Only 38% of all respondents met the criteria for “good sleeper”.
• 45% of reported insomniacs experienced daytime drowsiness and difficulty staying awake. during the day compared to only 10% of good sleepers.
• More than 75% of those with insomnia reported regular difficulty concentrating.
Clearly, effective treatment is urgently needed for those suffering from insomnia as it has negative implications for a person’s health and quality of life. It is therefore recommended that such people buy zopiclone tablets online to prevent the adverse impacts of untreated insomnia.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night. This results in a restless and non-restorative sleep. Due to individuals requiring different amounts of sleep in order to function at their full capacity, there are no set criteria for the amount of sleep each person should get.
Rather than being defined by the length of sleep or the time it takes to fall asleep, insomnia is defined by the quality of sleep and how a person feels upon waking. This means that if a person regularly sleeps for a full 8 hours each night, but wakes up feeling tired, groggy and unrested, they could potentially be experiencing insomnia.
How Do I Know if I Have Insomnia?
Insomnia is easily identified by several symptoms detailed below:
• Difficulty falling asleep despite feeling tired
• Waking up frequently during the night
• Difficulty getting back to sleep once awakened
• Non-restorative sleep
• Waking up too early in the morning/ earlier than intended
• Daytime drowsiness or fatigue
• Feeling irritable or grumpy
• Difficulty concentrating during the day
• Decrease in work performance
• Decrease in sociability
• Increased clumsiness and lack of coordination
What Is Causing My Insomnia?
Insomnia is caused by multiple health issues, psychological problems and lifestyle factors. The most important step in determining why you are struggling to sleep is identifying the root cause. This enables you to choose the best course of treatment.
1.) Medical conditions, illness and disease. These include chronic pain, asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, cancer and pain originating from any kind of source such as injury, surgery or illness.
2.) Sleep disorders. While insomnia is itself a sleep disorder, it can sometimes be a symptom of other sleep disorders rather than the main problem. Examples of insomnia-inducing sleep disorders are sleep apnoea and restless legs syndrome.
3.) Many prescription drugs can cause insomnia. These include antidepressant and anxiolytic medications, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and certain contraceptives.
There are also certain over-the-counter medications which can also disrupt sleep, including cold/flu medications that contain alcohol, painkillers containing caffeine (such as Midol or Excedrin), diuretics, and slimming pills.
Anxiety, stress and depression are among the most common causes of chronic (long-term insomnia). They are especially complex causes because insomnia tends to intensify mental illness. This, in turn, intensifies the insomnia which creates a cycle of mental illness and sleep deprivation that is frequently tricky to adequately treat without a combination of therapy, sleep medication and drastic lifestyle adjustments.
Many insomniacs attempt to cope with their sleep deprivation by adopting negative lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, these compensatory habits often only serve to increase the insomnia further. For example, a person might resort to excessively consuming caffeine during the day to help them remain awake. Or, they might drink copious amounts of alcohol in the evenings as a sleeping aid. Both caffeine and alcohol disrupt sleep and are detrimental to maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.
Other bad habits include an irregular sleep schedule, daytime napping, eating fatty, rich, heavy, spicy or sugary meals right before bedtime, a lack of exercise or exercising too close to bedtime. Many prior sufferers of insomnia have reported the enormous difference that a few simple lifestyle changes made to their overall sleep cycle and quality of life. Abigail Overton, renowned sleep specialist and former long-time sufferer of insomnia, is one such individual:
“When I was younger, my lack of sleep profoundly affected every aspect of my life. I struggled to focus in lectures, my stress levels were through the roof, I had little to no interest in socialising, and my relationship with my long-term boyfriend disintegrated. It was only once my grades started drastically decreasing that I sought clinical help. I was diagnosed with depression comorbid with insomnia and was told to adhere to a strict pro-sleep schedule. I started exercising regularly and eating well, I cut caffeine from my diet completely and was prescribed sleeping pills. My life completely transformed after that.”
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