Psychological medicine

Dealing with the sleepless patient

John H Lloyd



Sleep hygiene, relaxation and cognitive techniques, and medications are options.

Article Extract

  • ‘Ideal’ sleep is considered to have a sleep latency of half an hour, one waking of less than half an hour, and a total sleep time of around eight hours.
  • In practice there may be an extended latency, up to three wakings, and a total sleep time of five to 10 hours. Elderly people require less total sleep time.
  • Insomnia is defined as a sleep latency of greater than half an hour and more than three wakings of greater than half an hour.
  • In chronic insomnia (defined as insomnia for more than one month), 30 to 50% of cases have associated psychological or psychiatric disorder.