Insomnia disorder


Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia disorder and diet. Sleep issues can be a problem for more than half of Australian adults.

A 2019 survey of Australian adults found that

  • nearly 60% regularly experience at least one sleep symptom such as difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • nearly 15% have symptoms of chronic insomnia disorder - failure to fall or stay asleep for 3 or more nights a week for 3 months or longer

Medication not the answer

According to Australian sleep experts, medication is not the answer . We agree - see Dangers of sleeping pills, below.

However, a 2017 study found that 90% of people who discussed sleep problems with their GP were prescribed medication, with only 1% referred onward to a psychologist or sleep specialist.

Melbourne health psychologist and Sleep Health Foundation board member Moira Junge and Professor Sean Drummond, a professor of clinical neuroscience at Monash University, both say that the solution is a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for patients struggling with insomnia disorder.

Diet and sleep disturbance

GPs recommend drugs, psychologists recommend CBT, no-one mentions diet – but our readers recommend diet for both adults and children.

"I have had my 7 year-old daughter on an additive free diet …for one week and I cannot thank you enough … The last two nights she has fallen to sleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.  It used to take anything up to 2 and a half hours …" - Kerri from story [616]

I have been an insomniac since I was 16 … I have lived on approximately four hours sleep a day. I have spent thousands of dollars in trying to find the answer …I stumbled on your book … the next day I eliminated wheat, dairy and all preservatives/additives…. and I suddenly found myself able to fall asleep in ten minutes …” - Ingrid from story [150]

For more science and links to reports, see our blog Study: diet can cause insomnia in adults

More info

The dangers of sleeping pills

Our sleep issues story collection

Sleep disturbance and insomnia factsheet

Intro to food intolerance

Our list of supportive dietitians

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio