It is essential for us to better understand the sleep

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It is essential for us to better understand the sleep process in order to ensure that we get a regular amount of good quality sleep. Sleepio, co-founded by Professor Colin Espie, Director of the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre, is a new organisation that is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of sleep. Sleepio collected data from a large-scale, national survey on sleep habits; some of these revealing new data appear throughout this report. We can all benefit from improving the quality of our sleep. For many of us, it may simply be a case of making small lifestyle or attitude adjustments in order to help us sleep better. For those with insomnia it is usually necessary to seek more specialist treatment. Sleep medication is commonly used, but may have negative side effects and is not recommended in the long-term. Psychological approaches are useful for people with long-term insomnia because they can encourage us to establish good sleep patterns, and to develop a healthy, positive mental outlook about sleep, as well as dealing with worrying thoughts towards sleeping. One of the most widely used and successful therapies is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This is useful even for people who have had insomnia for a long period of time. A full course of such a therapy with a sleep specialist is potentially costly, and is most appropriate for people with severe sleep problems. Still, some CBT principles can be appropriate and easily practiced for anyone who is experiencing a sleepless night. Key points: – Sleeping poorly increases the risk of having poor mental health. In the same way that healthy diet and exercise can help to improve our mental health, so can sleep. There is no universal answer to the question of how much sleep a person needs. This varies from person to person. What is important is that people find out how much sleep they need and ensure that they achieve this. The consequences of poor sleep should be taken seriously in healthcare, education, family life, and society at large. We recommend that: – The importance and benefits of sleep for both mental and physical health should be highlighted in national and local public health campaigns, including in schools and workplaces. New and easily accessible resources should be made available advising people on what they can do themselves to improve their sleep. The Royal College of GPs should provide up to date, evidence-based training and information for its members on the importance and benefits of sleep for physical and mental health. GPs should also have access to a diagnostic tool for use in recognising sleep problems in primary care settings. The new Public Health Outcomes Framework should include a specific outcome on reducing sleep problems across the whole population.
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  • Fall '19
  • Sleep Matters

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