Sleeplessness is a horrible thing that can wreak havoc on our lives. A lack of sleep affects how we feel emotionally and physically and how we behave. If you struggle with sleeplessness then you are not alone and belong to a club with many members – about 25% of us in the UK are currently suffering from some form of sleep disorder which affects our daily lives.
The most common forms of insomnia are:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking up too early in the morning and not being able to drop off again
- Poor sleep quality – restless, disturbed or inconsistent so that it is hard to function the next day.
While the amount of sleep we need is completely individual and there are no hard and fast rules, sleep is most certainly a crucial thing for us – in evolutionary terms the human need for sleep must be pretty high if it outweighs the risks of being eaten or missing out on food while lying in slumber. All the research shows that sleep is not a luxury but essential to both physical and mental health.
Lack of sleep can not only be the cause of anxiety and depression, it can also make these things worse.
How lack of sleep can make anxiety and depression worse:
- Sleep problems negatively affect our mood and energy levels during the day, making it difficult for us to stay motivated to engage with others, exercise, and even go to work. To cope, we may compound the problem by avoiding people and situations; this can lead to more sleep problems – as loneliness itself is associated with fragmented sleep.
- Without sufficient sleep our emotional reactions in general will be stronger, making it harder for us to control our emotions. This may impact badly on our relationships and our self-esteem, so worsening our experience of anxiety and depression.
- Lack of sleep can ramp up our brain regions that trigger excessive worry.
The cause-and-effect runs both ways. Even if we are not anxious or depressed, lack of sleep increases our chances of being so.
You don’t have to part of the club
The good news is that you do not have to accept your sleeplessness – with support and commitment you can get back in control and not dread going to bed.
I can help you:
· Understand why you’re tossing and turning and focus on the things getting in the way of sleeping better
· Changing how you think and feel about sleep using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques
· Identify ways that can help improve your chances of dropping off and staying asleep
· Train yourself to be ‘better’ at sleeping – sleeping is a skill like any other that can be improved upon with time and effort
· Make lots of little changes that will add up to a huge positive change
· Effectively manage the negative thoughts that are your sleep enemies
Here are some useful resources regarding sleep that you may wish to take a look at:
www.tuck.com – Evidence-based sleep health information
NHS Insomnia – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/
Recent article in The Guardian on a cure for insomnia www.theguardian.com/news/2018/sep/14/finally-a-cure-for-insomnia
Why not contact me for an initial consultation to see how we can work together to get you back to a decent night’s sleep? I would love to hear from you.