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Mental Health Helpline
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Open 24 hours, 7 days a week

Sleep disturbance

Common symptoms of sleep disturbance

If you've started to notice some of the symptoms we've listed below, we may be able to help.


  • "This will never change"
  • "I'll be exhausted tomorrow morning"
  • "I can’t cope with this lack of sleep"
  • "I don’t feel rested"
  • "I'm not going to get enough sleep"
  • "I won't manage at work because I am so tired"
  • An increase or decrease in appetite
  • You're sleeping too much or too little
  • You have stopped doing the things you enjoy
  • You lack in energy
  • You're trying to catch up on your sleep during the day
  • You're lying in bed awake for most of the night
  • You're constantly checking the time at night
  • Poor concentration or poor memory
  • Low
  • Tense
  • Irritable
  • Worried
  • Stressed
  • On edge

Possible causes of sleep disturbance

  • Stressful life events – these can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced, or being attacked/abused
  • Negative thinking – sometimes you may start to think negatively due to an event or situation, and this can then become a habit and part of your general outlook. You may not even be aware of how negatively you were thinking or how this is impacting on you
  • Loss – this can be the actual loss of someone through death or disappearance, but it can also be a major life change where there has been an adjustment and a loss of role or identity, e.g. redundancy, retirement or menopause
  • Anger – if you struggle to express your feelings, particularly anger, you may find yourself struggling to sleep as a result of not expressing yourself in a safe and responsible way
  • Physical health – various illnesses can contribute to sleep disturbance, such as hormonal problems, menopause, pain, and diabetes
  • Substance use – the effects of medication, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and nicotine can impact on your quality of sleep
  • Common mental health difficulties can affect your quality of sleep

Call our Mental Health Helpline

Get support 24/7

You must be a member of Benenden Health to access this service.

(Add +44 if you're calling from abroad)

Select option 2.

Not yet a member of Benenden Health?

This service, along with a range of other support, is available for just £11.50 a month.

Support for our members

If you're a member of Benenden Health, we offer support for mental health from day one.

Further help and advice

We have a wide range of articles on health that could help you increase your wellbeing.

Body Lifestyle Mind Nutrition

We worked with our partner Insight Healthcare to create this short guide. Always speak to your GP if you feel like you could be suffering from a serious mental health condition.