Sleep issues are common amongst the majority of people, whether they are experiencing a mental illness or not.
About 74% of people in the UK regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep each night.
For the overwhelming majority of people with sleep issues, the main focus should be on QUANTITY rather than quality of sleep. Many people are simply not getting ENOUGH sleep. Typically, once someone has the opportunity to get enough sleep, the quality of the sleep improves by itself. It is therefore important to set a regular bedtime which will enable you to obtain the correct QUANTITY of sleep each night. This is ideally 7-8 hours.
There is a strong evidence base that indicates the importance of managing substances and environmental conditions, which are known to impair sleep quality.
- Big Meals
- Evening Light (even dim light)
- Erratic Bedtime
These ALL prevent you from entering into the deeper stages of sleep, causing low quality sleep.
If you are feeling particularly tired during the day and are able to take a nap, the ideal time is around 3pm. This is when the circadian rhythm is at its lowest. Nap length should be between 20-40 minutes, and no longer.
For people with chronic sleep difficulties and disturbances, the NHS recommends psychology as a frontline treatment. For people with chronic sleep disturbance issues there is often a deeper, underlying issue that emerges during sleep because dream-states function as a form of emotional processing/consolidation, meaning that unprocessed emotional issues can interfere with sleep.
Important point: ‘Orthosomnia’ refers to a condition in which people become anxious about obtaining ‘perfect’ sleep. This often involves a vicious cycle of emotional and behavioural changes in which a person becomes preoccupied that there is something wrong with their perfectly adequate sleep.
If you would like to speak to us for more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.