Insomnia is a serious sleep disorder that can affect one’s physical health, mental well-being, productivity, and overall quality of life if left untreated. Fortunately, there are various resources and treatment options available to help people who have it manage and overcome its associated symptoms. If you are having trouble sleeping or staying asleep but don’t know where to get help in the UK, this guide is for you. It sheds light on everything you need to know, including its causes, symptoms, and the best treatment options available.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling fatigued even after sleeping. It is a common illness in the UK, affecting about a third of the adult population every week. The good thing about this condition is that it can be easily treated or managed with some lifestyle changes, the use of supplements or wake-promoting medications, or a combination of these treatment options [1].

Insomnia can be acute, lasting for a short period, or chronic, persisting for months or even years. However, many people experience it without knowing because of the semblance of its symptoms to those of regular work-related stress. If left untreated, insomnia can affect various aspects of a person’s life. It can lead to impaired cognitive function, including memory problems and difficulty concentrating, which may, in turn, cause decreased productivity at work or school.

Additionally, insomnia can also cause accidents and contribute to mood disturbances such as irritability, depression, and anxiety, which can further affect sleep quality in a vicious cycle [2]. This is not to mention the weakening effects it can have on the immune system, making sufferers more susceptible to infections and illnesses. It is important to seek medical help as soon as you suspect you have this disorder, as it can significantly diminish one’s overall quality of life and well-being.

Symptoms and Causes of Insomnia

The symptoms of insomnia can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. However, the most common symptoms can be divided into 3 main categories: daytime effects, chronic insomnia characteristics, and when you have trouble sleeping. Let’s walk through each of these categories [3]:

Daytime Effects

While insomnia mostly affects sleep quality, it also affects the performance and productivity levels of people who have it during the day. This is because one’s ability to be sharp, alert, and effective during the day rests on the quality of sleep they have had. Consequently, it has symptoms that show up in the daytime. Some of them include:

  • memory problems;
  • mood swings;
  • slow reaction time;
  • feelings of excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day;
  • trouble concentrating, slow mental processing speed, and confusion.

Other symptoms include trouble managing relationships or social activities and a lack of interest in hobbies and other routine activities.

Chronic Insomnia Characteristics

As earlier mentioned, sometimes people with insomnia often do not know they have it because of the semblance it has with symptoms associated with work-related stress. However, there are certain characteristics that are typically indicative of chronic insomnia. They include:

  • frequency: Having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling fatigued even after sleeping, at least 3 times per week;
  • circumstances: Having insomnia symptoms at least 3 times a week, without experiencing any circumstances (e.g., changes in work schedules, life events, etc.) that could affect sleep quality;
  • duration: Experiencing severe insomnia symptoms for up to 3 months.

What’s more, in cases where an individual can’t explain their excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep long enough to feel well-rested upon waking, the symptoms are most likely due to Insomnia. I.e., the symptoms aren’t caused by any medication or an underlying medical condition.

When You Have Trouble Sleeping

Experiencing difficulty sleeping is one of the most common symptoms of insomnia. This usually happens in 3 ways, which affect people individually at different stages or times of their insomnia episode. They include:

  • initial insomnia: This refers to having trouble falling asleep;
  • middle insomnia: This form of insomnia causes frequent disruptions to night sleep, causing patients to feel unrested when they finally wake in the morning;
  • late insomnia: In this case, people with the disorder wake up shortly after going to bed and experience difficulties falling back asleep.

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia can be caused by various factors, both psychological and physical. While the actual cause often goes unidentified, here are some of the factors known to be associated with it [4]:

  1. Stress and anxiety: Some people have been found to develop insomnia after undergoing a stressful life event, work pressure, financial worries, relationship issues, or traumatic experiences. These factors often lead to overthinking during bedtime, which, in turn, causes difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Over time, it can usher in anxiety about sleep in a vicious cycle.
  2. Mental health disorders: Conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or bipolar disorder can disrupt sleep patterns, ultimately causing insomnia.
  3. Poor sleep habits: Engaging in poor sleeping habits, such as napping excessively during the day, sleeping at irregular times each day, and consuming caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime, can make getting quality sleep challenging. What’s more, using electronic devices before bedtime and generally engaging in stimulating activities before bed have been found to also contribute to a disruption in the sleep-wake cycle, giving rise to insomnia over time.
  4. Medications: Certain medications, including antidepressants, corticosteroids, and medicines for epilepsy, asthma, and high blood pressure, among others, can disrupt sleep patterns and cause insomnia as a side effect.
  5. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as heart conditions, joint or muscle problems such as arthritis, neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, and hormonal challenges such as an overactive thyroid sometimes cause pain or a feeling that interferes with sleep.

To effectively manage insomnia and improve sleep quality and overall quality of life, it is important to identify its root cause and effectively manage it. Consulting a doctor or healthcare provider can help determine the cause and get a personalized treatment plan that is more likely to work.

What Treatment Options Are There for Insomnia?

There are several treatment options/approaches for addressing insomnia, each with its degree of effectiveness and suitability, depending on the individual’s specific needs and preferences. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-I), over-the-counter and prescription medications, and alternative therapy such as yoga, mindfulness meditation, etc., are some of the available options. These treatment options are typically aimed at improving sleep quality and duration, eradicating the symptoms associated with the disorder, and boosting overall well-being.

At this point, it’s worth noting that complete treatment or eradication of the disorder can be quite challenging, especially in those with chronic sleep disturbances. However, the symptoms can be effectively managed through a combination of lifestyle modifications and one or more of the available treatment options.

Generally, the treatment options for insomnia focus on tackling the underlying or root causes, and starting treatment on time improves the treatment outcome. This is why it’s always important to seek help from a medical professional as soon as a couple of the symptoms show up rather than attempting to resolve the sleep problems yourself [5].

Where to Get Help for Insomnia in the United Kingdom?

While it has been established that insomnia can be treated or at least managed to improve sleep quality and overall well-being, accessing the right resources and support remains important to get the best treatment outcome. Currently, numerous avenues exist for individuals looking for help with insomnia in the UK. From professionals to specialized services and support organizations, here are some of the options you have [1]:

General Practice Doctor (GP)

A GP is often the first point of contact for individuals looking for where to get help with insomnia. Upon meeting them, they may ask questions about your sleep pattern and symptoms you are noticing and provide a diagnosis. They will also offer initial advice on things you can do to manage your symptoms, such as ways to sleep better and habits to avoid. If your case appears to be too severe to treat, your GP may refer you to a sleep specialist.

Therapist for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is generally considered the gold standard treatment for insomnia, as it has proven highly effective in improving sleep outcomes. In this treatment option, therapists aim to change negative thoughts and behaviors that may be affecting sleep. It typically involves techniques such as sleep restriction, relaxation training, stimulus control, and cognitive restructuring. CBT is sometimes combined with another therapy or other treatment options to improve the outcome.

NHS Services

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK provides various services and resources for individuals who have insomnia, among other sleep disorders. This includes access to sleep clinics, specialist consultations, and treatment options covered by the NHS. The NHS has a list of places where you can go for urgent healthcare; you can find it on its official website. 


Samaritans is a charitable organization that offers confidential emotional support to people who are in distress or struggling to cope with various health challenges, including insomnia. If you’re interested in confidential treatment, you can contact the organization via their helpline for free. You can reach them by phone, text, or email. You can also reach them in person.

Mind Website (

Mind is a mental health charity in the UK that provides information, resources, and support for individuals who are experiencing mental health issues, including sleep disorders like insomnia. They aim to help patients have a good understanding of their mental health state and all the treatment choices they have. You can find valuable insights, self-help tools, and guidance on managing insomnia.

The National Sleep Helpline

The National Sleep Helpline offers support and information to individuals living with insomnia, shift work sleep disorder, and other sleep disorders. They have trained sleep advisors on board, who can be called on 03303530541 to assist patients with sleep-related issues. The advisors are typically available between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM on Monday and Wednesday morning.

Sleepstation, Sleepio, and Other Programs to Treat Insomnia

Several online programs and apps, such as Sleepstation and Sleepio, offer evidence-based interventions and cognitive-behavioral techniques to help individuals overcome insomnia. These programs typically include self-help modules, personalized support, and progress-tracking features designed to help individuals with sleep disorders get the best treatment outcomes.

Local A&E Department

The Local Accident and Emergency (A&E) department can be reached in cases where you experience severe sleep disturbances or seriously worsening insomnia symptoms. The department has healthcare professionals on standby to provide immediate assessment and appropriate referrals if needed.

Top Tips and Ways for Sleeping Better

Struggling with sleepless nights can be frustrating, but rest assured, there are steps you can take to improve your sleep quality and overall well-being. If you have ever wondered, “What can I take to help me sleep,” or “What natural remedies can I use to improve my symptoms tonight,” here are the top tips that can provide some much-needed relief and improve your quality of life [6]:

Oral Medicines and Supplements

For many people, oral medications and supplements provide better treatment outcomes. If you also find meds more effective and often think to yourself, “What can I take to help me sleep,” then an oral medication such as Zopiclone or a vitamin such as melatonin may offer the relief you seek. Zopiclone is a safe and highly effective FDA-approved medication, often used for short-term treatment of insomnia. It works by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – a neurotransmitter in the brain that calms nerve activity, ultimately promoting sleep.

Oral medicines and supplements are easily accessible and offer convenience in managing insomnia symptoms. For instance, you can buy Zopiclone online in the UK, but it’s important to only source it or any other medicine, vitamin, or supplement from reliable and trustworthy online pharmacies. This helps ensure that you receive genuine products that meet safety standards, are safe for your health, and are suitable for your needs.

Sleep Hygiene

Improving your sleep hygiene is one approach that can quickly relieve some of the symptoms of insomnia. Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Also, ensure that your sleep environment is conducive to rest by keeping your room dark, quiet, and cool, and don’t forget to use a comfortable bedding and mattress.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle habits, such as excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption, affect sleep patterns and quality and could exacerbate your insomnia symptoms. Consequently, making some changes could help improve your symptoms and overall well-being. Try to avoid caffeine and nicotine close to your bedtime. Also, avoid alcohol intake in the evening, as it can cause fragmented sleep, affecting your sleep quality.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

If you feel anxious whenever it’s time to sleep or struggle to stop thinking or worrying about things, incorporating CBT into your treatment plan may significantly improve your sleep quality. Talk to your GP about this treatment option, and they might recommend it for you – if it’s suitable for your type of insomnia.

Regular Physical Activity

Exercising regularly is beneficial for improving sleep quality, as it can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promote deeper, more restorative sleep. You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym to exercise if you don’t have the time. Engaging in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, cycling, or jogging, on most days of the week can do the job. However, be sure to avoid vigorous exercise close to your bedtime, as it may energize you and make it harder to fall asleep.


If you have been wondering where to get help for insomnia, you can try any of the options for support and assistance provided above. For faster response, treatment, and follow-up, you can call the national sleep helpline on 03303530541 or your Local A&E Department. Alternatively, you can Google “insomnia help near me” to find other nearby treatment options that may include therapy sessions, support groups, or online resources. Remember to always prioritize your well-being and always seek help if you’re experiencing sleep difficulties or any other medical issue.


  1. Insomnia | Health Information | Bupa UK. Written by Amy Gallagher, Senior Sleep Physiologist, and Dr. Ade Adeniyi, Bupa Health Clinics GP. Medically reviewed by Rachael Mayfield-Blake. Retrieved: February 15, 2024.
  2. Insomnia. Retrieved: February 15, 2024.
  3. Insomnia: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. Retrieved: February 15, 2024.
  4. Insomnia. Retrieved: February 15, 2024.
  5. How to access insomnia treatment on the NHS. Retrieved: February 15, 2024.
  6. Insomnia (Poor Sleep): Causes & Treatment | Patient. Reviewed by Dr Pippa Vincent, MRCGP. Last updated by Dr Doug McKechnie, MRCGP. Retrieved: February 15, 2024.
Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].