Getting the Most from Primary Care

How Can Your GP Address Poor Sleep?

Struggling to sleep can feel infinitely frustrating. As you lay awake, you're likely aware of the impact your insomnia will have on the following day. And as you try to go about your usual activities, you may struggle to drum up energy.

When self-help measures don't work, it's worth turning to your GP for advice. Here are some ways that yours can help you.

Medication Review 

Without realising it, some of the medications you currently take could make sleep difficult. For example, they may have secondary effects that make you more alert than usual or they could induce restless legs syndrome. Your GP may perform a medication review and try to identify alternatives that make it easier for you to sleep. However, it's important to remember that alternatives aren't always available. 

Sleep Hygiene Review

Making small steps toward improving your sleep hygiene can go a long way toward resolving your insomnia. For example, if you use your phone in bed, the blue light can keep your mind active even when your body is tired. Or, if you get the temperature in your room wrong or exercise at the wrong time of day, you might struggle to sleep. Your doctor can run through your sleep habits and help you identify areas where changes might work to your advantage.


Generally, doctors try to avoid prescribing sleeping tablets. Your mind can adapt to them quite rapidly and there's a risk that you'll become dependent. However, they may look into prescriptions for conditions that are making your insomnia worse. For example, if you're going through menopause then exploring options, such as HRT, can diminish some of the side effects that make sleep difficult. Or, if you're experiencing anxiety that heightens at night, beta-blockers can lull you into a restful state.

Lifestyle Advice

Sometimes the way you live your life can prevent you from sleeping without you realising it. If you love to exercise, doing it too close to bedtime can increase your adrenalin levels and make sleep less likely. Similarly, drinking alcohol in a bid to make sleep easier can cause a neurotransmitter imbalance that actually makes it harder. Your GP can ask a series of simple questions that assesses your current lifestyle choices. From there, they'll offer advice on the changes you need to make to ensure sleep becomes easier.

By speaking with your GP about your sleep struggles, you could discover multiple small changes that can make a big difference to your rest.