Help for Sleep Problems

The Royal College of Psychiatrists suggest that the amount of sleep we need depends on our age. Adults generally need around 8 hours of sleep a night.

Older people often have one period of deep sleep during the night, usually in the first four hours. We also dream less as we get older.

There is much that is unknown about sleep. When we are awake we all inhabit a common world, but when we sleep we are in a world of our own, a world of dreams, images and varying states of unconsciousness.

Sleep is more important than you might think

Through developments in neuroscience, we are beginning to understand what happens in the brain while we sleep. We now know there is an intimate relationship between sleep and psychological functioning. Sleep benefits our mood, memory and concentration.

Not only does sleep affect mood, but mood and mental states can also affect sleep. Worry, anxiety, fear, depression and relationship issues can contribute to existing sleep problems, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of sleeplessness and distress.

Sleep is fundamental to our quality of life, but for many people healthy sleep is not always easy to achieve. Sometimes the underlying cause of sleep-related problems is obvious, while at other times the cause of these problems is less understood

Sleep also plays an important role in our immune and nervous systems. Our immune systems weaken in response to inadequate sleep, making us more susceptible to infections like colds or skin problems. Symptoms of sleeplessness reflected in our nervous system include feeling anxious or irritable and an increased propensity for stress.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists emphasises the importance of both the quantity and quality of sleep we receive. We need a certain amount of undisturbed, deep sleep to perform at our best. Poor quality sleep can leave us feeling as weary and tired as if we hadn’t slept at all.

Counselling can be helpful for those with sleep problems

People often view sleep as a luxury and sleep is one of the first things to go when we feel pressed for time. It’s easy to overlook the potential long-term health consequences of insufficient sleep, and the impact that inadequate sleep can have on one’s well-being.

Worry, anxiety, fear, guilt, depression and relationship issues can all contribute to ongoing sleep problems. So it is unsurprising that many clients coming to therapy because of problems in their waking lives also suffer from sleep issues. An experienced psychotherapist can help determine underlying causes of sleep-related problems and help restore healthy sleep patterns. This may involve improving ‘sleep hygiene’, such as bedtime routines, as well as addressing the issues that are causing stress in the client’s life.

 

Getting started

Time will be spent at your first appointment discussing with your therapist the specific problems you have when sleeping. Everyone’s sleep problems are different and your therapist will help determine the underlying causes of your sleep issues. This initial consultation will last about an hour.

Following this first appointment, you will have an opportunity to continue with ongoing appointments to address and alleviate your sleep issues.

What do I talk about in counselling?

One of the most common worries I hear expressed by people starting counselling is that they won’t know what to talk about. Some people think their problems aren’t significant enough. Others fear they have too much to say, that they might overwhelm the therapist…

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Too much sleep may be as harmful as too little

The study examined 9,000 English people over one month and found that those aged 50-64 who slept more than eight hours a night had poor memory and decision-making abilities similar to those who slept less than six hours per night. The optimal range of sleep for adults in this age range…

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Client Reviews

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One of our newest counsellors is Ben Brackenbury.
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Ben Marks has been with One Therapy for several years, seeing clients with a range or personal and emotional problems.
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Ben is an experienced psychotherapist who has helped many people through difficult times in their lives He works with clients with a wide range of personal issues around depression, anxiety, bereavement, trauma, abuse, loneliness, stresses within the workplace, low self esteem, relationship and sexual problems including performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction and...

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Seeing individuals for personal therapy, Catherine Hammett is a qualified counsellor.
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Veri Hiles is a private practice counsellor in Soho.
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Cora Beattie is a therapist for individuals.
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