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Sleep disturbance Talking Therapies

Sleep disturbance

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Some of the common symptoms of sleep disturbance

Have you been feeling?

  • low
  • tense
  • irritable
  • worried
  • stressed
  • on edge

Have you had thoughts like?

  • ‘This will never change’
  • ‘I will be exhausted tomorrow morning’
  • ‘I can’t cope with this lack of sleep’
  • ‘I don’t feel rested’
  • ‘I am not going to get enough sleep’
  • ‘I will not manage at work because I am so tired’

Have you noticed?

  • an increase or decrease in appetite
  • you are sleeping too much or too little
  • you have stopped doing the things you enjoy
  • you lack in energy
  • you are trying to catch up on your sleep during the day
  • you are lying in bed awake for most of the night
  • you are constantly checking the time at night
  • poor concentration or poor memory

Possible causes of sleep disturbance

  • stressful life events – these can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced, or being attacked/abused
  • negative thinking – sometimes you may start to think negatively due to an event or situation, and this can then become a habit and part of your general outlook; you may not even be aware of how negatively you were thinking or how this is impacting on you
  • loss – this can be the actual loss of someone through death or disappearance, but it can also be a major life change where there has been an adjustment and a loss of role or identity, e.g. redundancy or retirement
  • anger – if you struggle to express your feelings, particularly anger, you may find yourself struggling to sleep as a result of not expressing your anger or frustration in a safe and responsible way
  • physical health – various illnesses can contribute to sleep disturbance, such as hormonal problems, menopause, pain, and diabetes
  • substance use – the effects of medication, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and nicotine can impact on your quality of sleep
  • common mental health difficulties can affect your quality of sleep

How common is sleep disturbance?

  • 30% of adults in the UK are affected by sleep disturbance
  • 50% of older adults suffer from insomnia
  • sleep disturbance is more common in women, children and older adults

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