Sleep is very important for good psychological and physical health. Sleep therapy helps with identifying problems that may be unaddressed that are contributing to your lack of sleep, as it can commonly be a symptom of other psychological problems. Addressing these issues can help the stress that is keeping you awake. Sometimes when we are experiencing difficulties or feel overwhelmed and busy during the day, the mind finds it hard to settle and tries to alert your attention to your unresolved problems when you are not distracted and in bed. The resulting disturbance in sleep can then develop into its’ own problem with accompanying poor concentration and mood, contributing to a vicious cycle.
Our approach for sleep therapy
Essentially therapy involves two main components.
Environmental and behavioural factors
Some of which are intuitive things we do when not sleeping that can actually prolong or intensify the sleep problem. These include: catching up on sleep during the day, going to bed too early, over use of stimulants such as caffeine, as well as many others that will be explained to you. We often do not have the most appropriate sleep conditions or patterns that help the mind and body wind down. Your therapist will help assess areas that can be improved in your sleep environment and routine.
There are common types of thinking distortions around poor sleep that need exploring as they contribute to an anxiety that can develop as the problem gets worse. These natural but unhelpful thoughts are a major maintain factor in sleep disorders and your therapist will help you approach your sleep difficulty in a less catastrophic way.
How sleep therapy helps
By learning skills and techniques and gaining an understanding of the physiological aspects of sleep. An individual will start to adjust their patterns, thoughts and behaviours, and ultimately achieve a healthier sleep pattern, perhaps even alleviating the need for sleeping tablets.
Sleep therapy at Nightingale Hospital London
At Nightingale Hospital sleep therapy treatment can be accessed in an individual or group setting as part of an outpatient, day patient or inpatient programme in London. To understand the most suitable for your needs and personal circumstances our team would welcome your call.
How can you improve your sleep?
Below is a list of a few things that may help you before you see your sleep specialist:
Although humans are highly adaptive animals, when things go wrong it is often beneficial to find a routine. Parents may recognise how important it is for children to have a routine for sleep and sometimes adults need this too. Try to get up at the same time everyday including weekends and go to bed when sleepy rather than too early. The more time you spend in bed awake, the more you associate your sleeping environment with distress. After a while just thinking about going to bed or your bedroom could activate this paired experience of not sleeping.
Dim the lights in your home in the evening or enjoy candle light, Bright lights are not conducive to sleep. This is especially true of devices that emit blue light, such as telephone, tablet and TV screens. Blue light is associated with light in the atmosphere from the sun early in the day. This is designed to trigger our bodies to be awake. As the light changes in the evening, blue shades are reduced. This is part of the process that helps trigger the release of natural sleep hormones. Many modern phones have a night-mode which will remove the blue light, which is helpful to some extent (see next tip).
Have an end to your day
For most of our history, under normal circumstances, humans had a natural end to their working day. Modern times and work patterns allow us to work 24 hours a day, from our telephones and laptops, from wherever we are – including in bed! It is hard to expect the brain to wind down and know that it is safe to go to sleep if, after winding down, we decide to throw open a laptop and start responding to emails. Have a cut-off time where you STOP working and try if possible to develop a routine to prepare for bed, put dishes away, and lay out clothes or something equally dull.