Insomnia is the disturbance of a normal sleep pattern. For example, when you cannot get to sleep or wake up after only a few hours sleep.
Sleep is a state of consciousnesses, which gives your body time to rest and build up your strength. While you are asleep, your body goes through different stages at approximately 90 minute cycles. These include light sleep, deep sleep and dreaming, also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Difficulties with sleep can appear in a variety of ways:
Every individual is different so it is hard to define what normal sleep is for you. Other factors include your age, lifestyle, diet and environment.
Newborn babies can sleep for 16 hours a day, while children of school age need an average of 10 hours.
Adults usually need, on average, seven to nine hours sleep a night. As we get older, it's normal to need less sleep. Most people over 70 need less than six hours sleep per night; and they tend to be light sleepers.It is important to know that nearly everyone has problems sleeping at some time or other and it is thought that a third of people in the UK have bouts of insomnia.