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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

How Are You Sleeping These Days?

If you have been feeling as though you’re having worse quality of sleep than normal then you’re certainly not alone. The Covid-19 pandemic has been causing many of us a host of mental health challenges, and poor quality sleep and insomnia are just a couple of the ones to add to the list.

In fact, a French study published in Psychiatry Research recently - and shared by Psypost - revealed that there is evidence of “heightened insomnia” among the French population during the Covid-19 health crisis.

The study’s authors stated that the global pandemic had “caused overwhelming worries related to fear of contamination and, at societal levels, health, economic and financial crisis that may affect sleep habits and quality”.

The research specifically looked for indications of insomnia and found that 19 per cent of those surveyed met the clinical criteria for the condition. This is close to the upper estimates for global prevalence of the condition, the news provider noted.

As well as a pre-existing psychological condition, loneliness and heightened worry about the virus were both named as factors that could increase the chance of someone meeting the criteria for insomnia.

This isn’t the only study to look at our sleep habits and quality during the Covid-19 pandemic. Cnet recently shared the findings of research conducted at the University of Basel in Switzerland, which revealed that while we’re sleeping more at the moment, the quality of our sleep is reduced.

The research, which was published in the journal Current Biology found that people are getting an average of 15 minutes more sleep per night during lockdown.

However, despite having more time in bed, the overall quality of our sleep has declined in this period, the researchers found.

Christine Blume, co-author of the study, explained that improving our sleeping habits and reducing what’s known as social jet lag typically results in better quality sleep. However, this hasn’t been the case during the pandemic.

“We think that the self-perceived burden, which substantially increased during this unprecedented Covid-19 lockdown, may have outweighed the otherwise beneficial effects of a reduced social jet lag,” Ms Blume said.  

If you’re experiencing signs of insomnia or lower quality of sleep, what can you do to redress the balance?

Given that anxiety over the current situation is one of the causes of poor sleep, it makes sense to look at how you can reduce your anxiety and thereby improve your sleep, as well as other elements of your life.

Online mindfulness therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy could be an excellent place to start. If you complete an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction programme, you could experience a range of benefits, including better quality sleep, feeling less anxious, displaying fewer physical symptoms of stress and feeling more energised. 

During the programme, I’ll introduce you to techniques you can use to reduce your stress levels, including meditation, gentle yoga and mindfulness exercises. These exercises are specifically to assist those experiencing anxiety, stress and pain. 

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy offers evidence-based approaches to overcoming Insomnia and I work together with clients to create treatment plans with components including Sleep Education, Sleep Hygiene, Relaxation Training, Cognitive Restructuring and Hypnotherapy.

If you’re struggling with what’s happening in the world at the moment, or just feeling as though life is getting on top of you, which has resulted in anxiety and stress, get in touch today to find out more about how I can be of assistance.

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