Sleep problems

When people talk about having sleeping troubles, they’re usually concerned about not getting enough sleep or the poor quality of their sleep making them feel too tired during the day.

Sleep troubles can be a very personal issue with experiences varying from person to person. It may take you a long time to fall asleep or you may have problems remaining asleep (waking up in the middle of the night or waking up too early in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep) or the quality of your sleep may be poor. Whatever the reason, a bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling exhausted and unable to function properly the next day.

The amount of sleep people need and their idea of a ‘good night’s sleep’ can vary too. The average sleep requirement for an adult is around 8 hours each night, but some of us need more and some of us need less – the important point to remember is the actual number of hours you sleep doesn’t usually matter, it’s whether you wake up feeling restored.

“More than half of adult Australians are suffering from at least one chronic sleep symptom that is affecting their ability to live a healthy, happy life.”1

What causes sleep problems?

Most of us experience some form of sleep troubles at some point in our lives. It can be a short-lived sleep issue, or if it continues for over a month, a long-term (chronic) sleep problem.

Some sleep troubles are linked to our normal everyday sleeping patterns being disrupted in some way, for example, when travelling between time zones or working night shifts. Illness or injuries can affect how well we sleep, and medications taken for other health conditions can also interfere with sleep, as too can stressful events or worrying.

Other factors that can affect your sleep include:

  • Caffeine, alcohol, energy drinks, smoking cigarettes, and some medications
  • Pain and other health related conditions that make you uncomfortable or wake you up at night such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnoea
  • Stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Worrying about things – including not getting enough sleep!

Sometimes there is just no identifiable cause for poor sleep quality. Circadin prolonged release melatonin may be able to help your body prepare for sleep and improve sleep quality and morning alertness by supplementing melatonin throughout the night.

Treatments for sleep problems

If you are experiencing sleep issues such as feeling that your sleep is restless, light or of poor quality, there are a range of solutions to explore:

  • Having good sleep habits and sticking to a day-night sleep routine is usually one of the first options people try to improve their sleep
  • Identifying and dealing with any underlying medical problems, stress, or other worries can also help
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (sometimes referred to as CBT) is also recommended as an initial treatment option
  • Sleeping tablets (such as Circadin) in conjunction with good sleep habits may be appropriate
  • If you have long-term sleep issues that have persisted for more than 3 months you should seek professional support and talk to your doctor about the possible causes and the best treatment options for your sleep problem


The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please speak to a healthcare professional if you have any questions about your sleep problem or its treatment.

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  1. Sleep Health Foundation. Insomnia [online]. last updated June 2019. Available at: [accessed February 2021].