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Sleep: what is it, why does it matter, and how much do we need?

Yesterday I listened to Professor Colin Espie lecture on "What is sleep ... and why does it matter?".   I then went on to his packed two hour workshop on "Assessing and treating insomnia in everyday clinical practice".  I've heard Colin lecture before and been to a full day workshop with him as well, but it's great to get an update on where sleep research & treatment has got to.  Colin is a professor of Sleep Medicine linked with the Oxford 'Sleep & Circadian Neuroscience Institute' and is very much a world expert in this area. 

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - aspects of self-compassion

I've woken early.  Lying here I feel an unfamiliar hollow pressure in my gut.  What is this?  Fear?  Anxiety? Tension?  "Tense apprehension" seems to fit.  I'm lying here in the early hours of the morning, a hollow tense apprehension in my belly.  And it isn't surprising.  Pretty normal in fact as I move closer & closer to major surgery.  Consciously.  By my own decision.  On this journey, travelling down the "kidney donation river", I can hear the roar of the approaching rapids.  Surgery soon.  It's a pretty standard, basic, healthy response to tense a bit as I move towards the crux, possibly the most intense section of this "donation river".  And I don't have to tighten the rest of my body around the belly apprehension.  I can let go, loosen in my arms, my face.  It's OK. Nothing to do right now.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - goals and journey

I'm due to donate a kidney soon, and I have been writing about what's involved - see "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering", "Kidney donation: what are the risks?" and "Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - values are central".  Primarily these posts are for other donors, but aspects of what I write are also relevant for facing challenges more generally as well.

Sleep apnea: how is it recognised & what can be done about it?

I have already written a couple of posts on sleep apnea -"Sleep apnea - what is it, how common is it and how does it affect mortality & physical health?" and "Sleep apnea - how does it affect psychological health?".  In this third & last post of the sequence, I'll explore how we can recognise sleep apnea and what we can do about it.

Sleep apnea - how does it affect psychological health?

I have already written a first post "Sleep apnea - what is it, how common is it and how does it affect mortality & physical health?" which highlights that sleep apnea is a common, regularly unrecognised disorder, occurring in approaching 1 in 5 adults and that, particularly as it becomes more severe - probably approximately 1 in 10 sufferers (Li et al, 2015) - sleep apnea is linked with a wide range of serious diseases and with significantly increased death rates.  In this second post, I'll look at the relevance of sleep apnea for psychiatric disorders.

Sleep apnea - what is it, how common is it and how does it affect mortality & physical health?

Sleep apnea is a common, but frequently unrecognised, contributor to psychological difficulties and to health problems more generally.  I would like to look at a series of questions about this disorder - what is it, how common is it, why is it important, how do you recognise it, and what can be done about it?

Non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder (2nd post) - sleep, light & exercise

I have just given a talk on "Recent research on non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder" to the Lothian branch of "Bipolar Scotland".  There is a description of the first part of the talk at "Non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder (1st post) - the value of psychotherapy" and you can download the full sequence of slides here.  Points touched on in the second part of the talk are illustrated below:

Birmingham BABCP conference: first day - decentering, compassion, insomnia, social anxiety, sp/sr & barbecue (3rd post)

This is a quick overview of the first full day of the annual BABCP summer conference in Birmingham.  I intend to return to some of the key learning points in later posts.  I've already written about the pre-conference workshop I went to on "Emotion regulation" in a couple of earlier posts. Apparently the conference itself offers 37 symposia, 5 panel discussions, 3 clinical roundtables, multiple poster sessions, 13 skills classes, numerous special interest group & branch meetings, and 18 keynote addresses - all over the course of two and a half days here on the University of Birmingham campus. The freely downloadable 101 page abstracts book gives a great sense of what's on offer.

Self-help for insomnia: encouraging results and some available resources

I've written three blog posts about sleep in the last three months - "'Sleep well and live better: overcoming insomnia using CBT'- a workshop with Colin Espie", "The links between sleep disturbance and depression" and "Is short duration sleep a problem or is it just disturbed sleep that leads to increased mortality risk?  A personal exploration".  It is clear that many people struggle with sleep difficulties and that this is associated with a network of other problems.  A recent paper that highlig

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