Regardless of whether my clients are come for help with chronic fatigue syndrome, ME or anything else I always ask them how much sleep they are getting, as disturbed sleep, low quality or not enough sleep is often a symptom of problems like chronic stress, anxiety or depression.
We all need to sleep, different people needing more or less, but probably around 7.5 to 8 hours for most of us. Sleep deprivation has big impact on our ability to function throughout the day, people find it harder to concentrate, have perspective on their problems and make decisions; and their short-term memory will also be affected. Often they will also be more impatient, snappy and irritable, as well as being prone to low mood and potentially depression.
Humans need rest and downtime, just we they need oxygen, food and water to survive. So if you are suffering from insomnia, you need to take it seriously.
Tips for better sleep:
Relax before bed. Make time to wind down before you go to bed, a bath before bed, or reading a good book can be a great way of relaxing your mind and body before bed. Also, believe that you are going to sleep well because if you start worrying about whether you will sleep well tonight you will set off a self-fulfilling cycle.
Increase your exercise. It is really important to exercise, both to improve your sleep and also to improve your physical and mental health. Get outside, get some fresh air (even if it is raining or cold!) for a brisk walk every day. This will help to boost you mood too.
The good news is that sleep deprivation is usually quick and easy to fix. So if you are struggling to sleep please don’t suffer, see your GP, or get help from me or another therapist.