Sleep is an essential component in our continuing health and well-being. It is an important process. The restorative cycle of it means the body is able to rest, refresh, recover and continue functioning normally. In our fast paced lives nowadays sleep problems are sadly a common occurrence.
For many of us, sleeping is a natural part of our routine. While we know the health benefits and importance of it, few of us truly appreciate how much we need it or know what happens when we don’t get enough.
On average, an adult will need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, it is thought that one in three adults are affected by sleep problems or have been diagnosed with insomnia.
What is a sleep disorder?
We all find ourselves lying awake on rare occasions, we’ve had a stressful day at work, or received some bad news or roused by a bad dream. For most of us it is likely we will quickly return to our normal routine once things have settled down however, for others, problem sleeping is a far more common occurrence. Sadly, sleep problems or disorders are now considered to be one of the most common health complaints seriously affecting the physical, mental and emotional functioning of many individuals.
Sleep disorders is the term used to describe any problems relating to sleep problems. This can include:
- excessive sleep
- night terrors,
- sleep bruxism (teeth grinding)
- nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting during sleep).
There are a variety of warning signs which may be indicators sleep problems such as:
- feeling as though you have had sufficient sleep but are very tired throughout the day
- drifting off mid-conversation
- a partner disturbing you regularly by snoring, physical movements, sleep-talking or sleepwalking
- starting a new medication and finding your sleep to be affected.
Please note that not everyone who exhibits all or some of these symptoms will have sleep problems. People will have their own experience of sleep disorders.
What is insomnia?
According to guidelines from a physician group, insomnia is defined as; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience one or more of the following symptom fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school.
The National Sleep Foundation lists two types of insomnia and these are characterised by the duration of the sleep disturbance. For example.
Acute insomnia is brief and will often happen because of a specific life experience, for example, you are kept awake worrying about an exam, or you are feeling stressed from a day at work. Many people may have experienced this type of passing sleep disruption, and it tends to resolve without any treatment.
Chronic insomnia is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months and is often a long-term problem. Chronic insomnia disorders can have many causes. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work or other clinical disorders, and certain medications could lead to a long-term pattern of insufficient sleep.
Therapy can help to explore and understand patterns of behaviour which have been learnt and established as normal behaviour over many years and look at the root cause of your sleeping problems, working with you to learn new strategies and coping techniques to help improve your sleep. Though the cause of the problem will vary for each individual, there are many conditions that may increase the risk of developing sleep problems and therefore it is important to contact your GP if you are experiencing a sleep disorder. They will be able to provide you with a diagnosis and advice, as well as being able to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
How can I help?
The first step after you contact me (either by phone or email) will be a brief telephone conversation with me. This is so you can raise any questions or concerns and share a little about your situation. Each and every telephone call is conducted in strict confidence. If you feel uncomfortable with a telephone conversation, please express this on an email and we can organise your initial free consultation in person.
Following this, you can choose whether to book in sessions with me and we can discuss how and when these will happen. The initial consultation is designed to give you freedom of choice and to ensure you are comfortable talking and working with me
Your first session will give you the chance to talk freely in a calm, quiet and completely confidential environment to explore your situation and how it impacts you day to day. I look to understand what you hope to achieve from therapy and from this we can explore some techniques and ideas to help you to achieve improved health and wellbeing, so you are armed with a unique set of tools that you can use to continue to feel well. Most importantly I work at a pace and frequency that feels right for you with regular check ins to see how you are progressing.
More information on my approach can be found here.
For more information about sleep and some top tips to help improve yours see here.