They say a good night's sleep is nature's cure and sleep is essential to restore, repair and develop our minds and bodies. While a restful night can set us up for the day, whatever we may face, a poor night’s sleep can contribute to low mood and anxiety. In turn, mental health difficulties can rob us of quality sleep. It is harder to function well if we don't feel fully rested which can have a detrimental impact on our relationships, work and ability to cope with life’s difficulties. Yet, sleep problems are common, especially during times of stress with The Sleep Council reporting that more than a quarter of us experience poor quality sleep on a regular basis. Common sleep problems can present as:
• Insomnia (struggling to fall asleep, wakening up during the night, or early morning wakening).
• Hypersomnia (sleeping more than usual).
Sometimes sleepless nights develop from working shift patterns, having young kids or following a significant life event, such as a bereavement or a physical illness. Psychologists recommend Sleep Hygiene to improve sleep quality, this basically means getting into a regular, relaxing routine.
Longer term sleep problems can be associated with more serious conditions including anxiety and depression and recurrent nightmares can be associated with previous trauma. If this is an issue for you then it might be useful to seek professional help to explore the underlying issues.
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Free Sleep Self Assessment & practical advice from NHS Choices
Free Downloadable Relaxation Exercises
Free Hypnosis for Relaxation
Mental Health Foundation
NHS Choices: Sleep Problems in the UK
Good Night Guide for Children
Sleep Scotland: Supporting families of children and young people with additional support needs and sleep problems