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Sleep therapy and treatment

Sleep disorders are characterised by a frequent inability to achieve good quality sleep. Individuals with a sleep disorder commonly find it difficult to fall/stay asleep and fail to feel refreshed and rested the next day.

The most common form of sleep disorder is insomnia, which is defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as the ‘inability to initiate or maintain sleep or to obtain good sleep quality despite adequate opportunity to do so, accompanied by significant daytime consequences of poor sleep’.

At Priory, our sleep therapy specialists understand that our health and wellbeing require a sensible balance of diet, exercise and sleep. Unfortunately, in our modern day hectic lives, the importance of sleep is being marginalised more and more. This can result in serious consequences for our physical and mental health, as well as social life, family relationships and productivity at work. If you are finding that your sleep problems are becoming more frequent, and are having a detrimental impact on your ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may be that you have developed a sleep disorder that requires expert sleep therapy to overcome.

At Priory, our world class team are dedicated to providing exceptional sleep therapy and treatment in order to address and resolve your sleep problems, and improve your health and wellbeing.

What are the signs and symptoms of a sleep disorder?

Whilst sleep in a subjective phenomenon, with each of us requiring different amounts of sleep each night in order to function effectively, research indicates that individuals who regularly achieve less than 3.5 hours’ sleep per night are likely to experience negative consequences as a result of sleep deprivation, that will require comprehensive sleep therapy and treatment to overcome. Some other signs that you may be suffering from a sleep disorder include:

    • Difficulty falling and staying asleep - a common symptom of insomnia which could be the result of excessive worry or an anxiety disorder, depression, physical pain or simply an irregular sleep habit

    • Being awake for most of the night, despite wanting and trying to sleep

    • Waking up early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep

    • Interrupted sleep - may be caused by an uncomfortable bed, nightmares or sleep apnoea (interrupted breathing). Frequently, people are not always aware of symptoms that may occur while they are asleep such as breathing difficulties, snoring and leg movements

    • Waking up tired and feeling un-refreshed

    • Struggling to complete day-to-day tasks  due to lack of energy

    • Reduced productivity and performance at work

    • Poor concentration

    • Indecisiveness

    • Daytime drowsiness

    • Irritability and agitation

World class sleep therapy and treatment for sleep disorders

If you think that you or someone that you know may be suffering from a sleep disorder, it is important to recognise that you are not alone, and the most crucial first step is to seek help. We have a number of expert consultant psychiatrists, including Dr Natasha Bijlani, based at The Priory Hospital Roehampton, who have a special interest in sleep therapy and the treatment of sleep disorders.

Our expert team at Priory recognises that each individual experiences insomnia and sleep disorders in unique ways. As such, we are dedicated to developing bespoke sleep therapy programmes which enable your individual challenges to be tackled in a way that fosters the best outcomes for you. 

The first step in your sleep therapy journey will be to receive a detailed assessment which will help your allocated specialist to determine whether or not your sleep problems are being influenced or caused by any other co-existing conditions that may need treating. Your specialist will then be able to direct your sleep therapy according to your specific requirements.

The next step in sleep therapy usually consists of our highly qualified specialists teaching you simple behavioural and lifestyle changes that you can make, in order to improve your ability to achieve consistent, good quality sleep. These changes may include robust sleep hygiene measures and regular relaxation exercises. These steps are vital in good sleep management as individuals need to take an active role in their sleep therapy and treatment, if progress is to be maintained. 

Our sleep disorder experts also use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as a means of tackling the symptoms that are associated with sleep disorders, and addressing any underlying problems. CBT is widely used in sleep therapy and works by addressing the misconceptions, attitudes and unhelpful behaviours that may be contributing to your sleep disorder, before encouraging you to view situations in healthier ways. This technique has been found to be highly effective in sleep therapy as a means of helping people to achieve a consistent sleep pattern and improve their health and wellbeing.

How common are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are common, with around 6% of adults (over 3.5 million people) in the UK reporting feeling sleepy during the day. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint and there is a higher rate of reported insomnia in women, with approximately one in three women suffering from insomnia at some point in their lives. This may be because women are more likely to seek help for unsatisfactory sleep than men. Insomnia seems to become more prevalent with increasing age, although children and adolescents can also be affected by it.

What causes a sleep disorder to develop?

Sleep can be affected by a whole host of factors including environmental influences as well as your general mental and physical health. The following may all increase the likelihood that you may go on to develop a sleep disorder:

  • Existing mental health problems (e.g. depression, stress, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety)

  • Certain physical health conditions (e.g. respiratory conditions, chronic pain, arthritis)

  • Certain medications (e.g. steroid medication, medication for epilepsy and blood pressure, certain antidepressants)

  • Poor sleeping environment

  • Inconsistent sleep routine

  • Napping during the day

  • Shift work

  • Smoking cigarettes, especially in the evening

  • Consuming alcohol prior to going to bed

  • Drinking too much caffeine, especially in the evening

  • Drug use

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Sleep therapy and treatment, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here