Sleeplessness can blight people’s lives, but until recently it has not been taken seriously. What causes it and how can it be treated?
Part of The Ultimate Guide to Sleep: a special supplement appearing in The Guardian on Saturday
I have spent the last 30-plus years trying to understand and find the best solution for the phenomenon of insomnia. Having spoken to countless thousands of patients and research participants, I know that being unable to sleep when you need to, and when you want to, is one of the most frustrating of human experiences.
So, three key questions. What exactly is insomnia? How does it come about? Can it be treated? Whether or not you use the term insomnia, I expect you know what I mean. Insomnia is a difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep, occurring three or more nights per week, for at least three months. In fact, in my clinics the average duration of insomnia is more like five to 10 years.