Falling asleep and staying asleep

Falling asleep and staying asleep

Approximately 35-40% of adults experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and feel tired throughout the day. These days, many people experience changes in their sleep patterns or find that the quality of their sleep has diminished.

Changes in sleep patterns include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking up earlier than usual
  • Feeling less rested

Beware of 'catching up on sleep'

If you regularly sleep in at the weekend, you may be disrupting your biological clock. This can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Your biological clock works best if you go to bed at wake up around the same time every day.


Tip: sleep hygiene

Sleep disturbances are often made worse by poor sleep hygiene. These are factors that inhibit a good night's sleep, such as:

  • No routine, falling asleep at different times
  • Inability to relax, going to bed stressed
  • Consuming alcohol or caffeine at night
  • Poor sleep environment (too warm, too cold, too bright, too many devices such as TV, radio, mobile phone)
  • Too much exposure to light in the evening (TV, tablet, computer, phone), which suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin

Stress and sleep

Stress and tension make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. People who have trouble sleeping due to stress find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep and tend to stay awake for longer periods of time.


If stress is making it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep, this often consumes your thoughts. Once in bed, these (negative) thoughts start to surface and make it hard to relax.