June 22, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

sleep, sleeping

Poll: more than three in four people say they don’t get enough sleep

A leading expert on mental health has warned she is witnessing more and more cases of illnesses linked to lack of sleep.

Counsellor and author Lynn Crilly says a lack of proper rest is causing mental health conditions in some cases, and exacerbating symptoms among those already suffering.

Ms Crilly, the author of a number of books including Hope With Depression, recently conducted a poll of 1,000 on social media and 78% said they had trouble sleeping at night.

When asked why they thought that was the poll found:

>63% say they were worried about everyday life;

>15% say it was linked to being on their phones;

>14% say it was due to a health condition;

>And 8%  blamed caffeine and alcohol.

Commenting Lynn said: “I found these results really shocking and very worrying, but sadly I am seeing more and more cases where patients present themselves with conditions linked to a lack of sleep.

“Sleep plays a massive role in good health and well-being throughout a person’s life. Getting enough sleep at the right time can really help protect our mental health more than we think. Many people who experience mental health issues can experience disturbed sleeping patterns or insomnia. Over a long period of time, disturbed sleep can lead to a mental health condition or make an existing mental illness worse.

“Some experts recommend having seven to nine hours of sleep a night, with some saying the quality is far more important than the quantity.  The power and importance of sleep can often be underestimated as sleep is a healing process, one which cannot be stressed enough for people suffering from both physical and or mental health illnesses.

“Most importantly, being constantly tired can affect a person’s ability to rationalise anxieties and banish irrational thoughts. This can feed into negative thinking patterns which are often associated with anxiety, depression, OCD and other mental health issues.

  • “Suffering from poor sleep myself, I know personally how it can have a negative impact on a person’s day to day life and their ability to function both physically and mentally properly.”
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial. Here are a few ways we could use to help us achieve this:
  • Try and get into a routine of waking up at the same time and going to sleep at the same time, although this may not be realistic for your lifestyle I know! 
  • A pre-bed routine, which may include having bath, or reading, or listening to relaxation music, getting the mind into a relaxed state, should help you drift off more easily.
  • No iPad, smart phones, television, or electronic games in the bedroom. These can stimulate the brain, making you more likely to wake up in the night and then have trouble getting back to sleep, due to feeling the need to check for messages on social media
  • Make sure the bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible, and the temperature is comfortably cool (but not cold)
  • Alcohol and caffeine can also disturb sleep, as does eating rich food at night. So avoid both if you can or limit their consumption in the hours leading up until bedtime.