Sleep is a vital bodily process. It has a profound effect on our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, it is also something that can easily go wrong. Sleep therapy can be invaluable for those with sleep problems and online therapy for sleep allows a convenient, highly approach to improving sleep quality.
What are sleep problems?
A sleep problem is anything that regularly interferes with your ability to sleep. It is a chronic condition that could have a physical cause, such as pain, or a mental one, such as anxiety. Anyone can experience sleep problems, with around 10-15% of adults affected. For children, that figure is even higher, at 20%.
Common physical sleep problems include restless leg syndrome, which causes involuntary movements, sleep apnoea, which is a breathing problem, sleep walking and teeth grinding. Mental health conditions that can impact your sleep include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s can also be factors. Insomnia does not necessarily have an identified cause.
Not all sleep problems involve being unable to sleep. Narcolepsy and hypersomnia involve sleeping too much. The commonality is that sleep patterns are disordered, which can lead to problems with concentration, memory, mood and energy levels. These waking issues may then disrupt your sleep further, creating an ongoing cycle of sleep-related problems.
How does sleep therapy work?
Treatment for sleep problems is very much dependent on the cause. Sometimes, medication may help. For other cases, therapy may be a more appropriate course of action. You may need a mix of both. Even in therapy, the exact form of sessions is likely to vary. In your first meeting, your therapist will discuss the specific form your sleep problems take and what outcome you are hoping to achieve. This will allow them to prepare a personalised treatment plan targeted to your goals.
One key concept is something known as sleep hygiene, which can be practised regardless as to the underlying cause of the sleep problem. This involves steps such as ensuring your bedroom has the right levels of light, sound, air and temperature. It also involves creating a routine, from ensuring there is a suitable gap between eating and bed to having a “wind-down” process wherein you switch off devices and prepare your body to relax, perhaps taking a warm bath before trying to sleep.
How does this apply to online therapy for sleep?
Online therapy has grown increasingly popular in recent years. Modern technology means that sessions can be held through e-mail, messaging services and video calls without ever having to leave your home. This presents obvious advantages in terms of cost and convenience, as well as improving treatment accessibility for patients with mobility issues or mental health problems that make it difficult to go out to visit a doctor in person. There may be some differences in communication methods, but online therapy can provide similar structure and support to the in-person kind.
If sleep problems of any kind are disrupting your life, then you may need professional help to manage them and restore healthy sleep. Sleep therapy, online or in person, can help to identify the causes of sleep problems, teach good sleep hygiene practices and provide support specifically tailored to your needs and goals.
It seems that heatwaves are becoming more and more common, and with them, the warnings about their potential danger to health. You might think this just refers to physiological issues such as heatstroke and dehydration, but for some people, especially those with pre-existing psychiatric conditions, the mental impact can also be profound. How hot weather impacts mental health The increasing