The first thing to say is that sleep difficulties are really common. Although we will all suffer from a sleepless night once in a while, it's likely that as many as one in three adults in the UK is struggling with their sleep at any one time.
Although we might be able to deal with trouble nodding off once every so often, when this is something that we have to deal with most nights, its effects can be much harder to ignore. This is particularly the case when poor sleep starts to impact our mood, energy levels and our day-to-day activities. It can then start to disrupt our relationships, work and our social lives, making it even harder to manage longer-term.
Long-term difficulty falling or staying asleep - that's also having a negative effect on your ability to get by during the day - is known as insomnia. It is surprisingly common and estimates suggest that as many as one in ten adults in the UK probably meet diagnostic criteria.
Why does it happen?
It often starts as little more than a short period of sleeplessness brought on by some stressful life event. However, before long we may naturally start to become anxious about not sleeping and will probably change our routine to try to better manage the situation. A common example of this is people going to bed unusually early to try and 'catch up' on their sleep, only to find themselves lying awake for hours and feeling even more fed-up.
The painful irony is that these adaptations to our behaviour can sometimes mean that our sleeplessness doesn't resolve itself, leaving us exhausted, depleted and stuck. To top it off, people who struggle with their sleep often report that they can be plagued with lots of negative thoughts about the effects of poor sleep. Thoughts like, “I’m just not going to be able to cope tomorrow” or “I’m so tired I can’t even think straight” are common examples. These kinds of thoughts put us into a near-constant state of being on edge and “sleep triggered” that makes it even more difficult to relax and sleep.
What can I do?
The good news is that there's a treatment that works! At Sleep Well Oxford, we use Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), an evidence-based approach designed specifically for treating sleep problems and that is recommended as the first-line treatment in international clinical guidelines, including those used by the NHS. CBT-I is a brief therapist-delivered course of treatment that can be done online and that is strongly supported by the most rigorous clinical research trials, Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs). It aims to address unhelpful thoughts and beliefs about sleep, the challenging emotional fallout of poor sleep and the behaviours that might be keeping the situation stuck.
The great thing about Sleep Well Oxford’s approach is that you’re given the tools you need to get back to sleeping well, with the guidance and support of a clinical expert and committed therapist. Once you’ve done the course, which is done in the comfort of your own home via Skype, you can always continue to use the tools yourself or simply get in touch again for free ongoing support.
Why not get in touch to find out about how Sleep Well Oxford can help you get back to Sleeping Well.