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Sue Burn

Problems sleeping?

Posted by Sue Burn 323 Days Ago

Get a better night's sleep

Sleep, or the lack of it (insomnia), is a hot topic at the moment … and rightly so as we need good quality sleep to enable us to fight off disease, recover from illness and keep our memory sharp; it also contributes to our longevity and ability to learn. 

Yet, according to the NHS, “a recent study found that as many as 30% of the adult population are affected by sleep problems”.

Some people are more prone to insomnia than others, such as the over 60s, females (especially after menopause), those with a history of depression, a medical problem or who are using certain medications and those experiencing other conditions such as stress or anxiety. Medical, environmental or even psychological conditions may also cause insomnia, as can prescribed medication and foods we’ve eaten. However, one of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression.

Certain behaviours, such as drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, drinking or alcohol, smoking before bedtime or even expecting to have trouble sleeping and worrying about it, can contribute to making insomnia worse in some people.

How much sleep do you need?

7-8 hours of sleep each night is the ideal, with teenagers and school age children needing more. This should include a mix of between being wide-awake, feeling drowsy and falling asleep, light sleep, deeper sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM sleep - the stage in which most dreams occur). 

So, that dispels the myth that we need less sleep as we get older; sleeping less is probably more to do with having greater trouble going to, and staying, asleep!

Our body-clock

Our natural body-clock helps regulates our sleep, with the sleep cycle made up of around 8 hours of night-time sleep and 16 hours of daytime wakefulness. It is controlled by two things:

  1. our body maintaining a steady state of internal conditions, such as our blood pressure, body temperature etc (homeostasis)
  2. a roughly a 24-hour cycle of physical, mental and behavioural changes driven by our body’s biological clock (Circadian rhythms)

By blending hypnotherapy, mindfulness and coaching approaches, you can:

  • define your sleep pattern
  • examine your sleep environment
  • identify which of a range of sleep strategies are best for you and your situation
  • learn how to relax and switch off
  • get better quality, more restful sleep

Sue Burn

Article written by Sue Burn - Newcastle Upon Tyne

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