Understanding the importance of sleep

Sleep is essential for our health and well-being, yet it is estimated that 40% of the population suffer with their sleep and do not get the support that they need.

How we sleep and how much sleep we need is different for all of us and changes as we get older. On average, adults require between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day.

It is natural to feel tired from time to time, and any problems with sleep usually resolve themselves within about a month. However, longer periods of poor sleep can have a negative affect on the quality of our lives and make usually manageable tasks harder.

Signs you may be experiencing sleep problems

you find it difficult to fall asleep
you lie awake for long periods at night
you wake up several times during the night
you wake up early and are unable to get back to sleep
you feel down or have a low mood
you have difficulty concentrating
you find yourself being more irritable than usual
you feel like you have not slept well when you wake up in the morning

Source: https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters
Possible causes of sleep problems

There are many reasons why we might not be able to sleep well, and these differ for everyone. They can include:

feeling stressed or worried
a change in the noise level or temperature of your bedroom
a different routine, for example because of jet lag
too much caffeine or alcohol
shift work
physical or mental health problems
side effects from medicines

Source: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Tips for improving your sleep

There are a number of things that you can try to help improve the quality of your sleep, including simple lifestyle changes.

Below are some 'do's' and 'don'ts' when it comes to getting a good night's sleep:

Sources: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/ and https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/
Shift work

Working outside of traditional hours (e.g. 9am - 5pm) can have an effect on our sleep and wake states, also known as our internal body clock or circadian rhythm. Fortunately, there are various techniques that can help you to maintain your physical, mental and emotional health when working shifts.

Sleepstation have created an article which includes advice on how to get good sleep, even if you’re a shift worker, click here to read.

The Sleepio App

NHS staff have been given free access to Sleepio:

Sleepio is a clinically evidenced sleep improvement programme that is fully automated and highly personalised, using cognitive behavioural techniques to help improve poor sleep.

How to access Sleepio:
Visit the Sleepio website
Answer a few short questions to tailor the programme to you
Sign up for an account using your name and email address
Click ‘Personalise Sleepio'

Further support and resources:

The goodnight guide, 7 practical tips for getting a good night's sleep

Sleeping Problems - An NHS self help guide, for the Accessibility and Translation version, click here .

Thrive Webinar (Sleeping better during COVID)
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