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Ch.3: Sleep (and Light)

“ The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. ” - Eden Phillpotts

This chapter will aim to cover such questions as - How much sleep is needed?  How much sleep do people get? Prevalence not just of insomnia, but also of other sleep problems e.g. sleep apnoea.  How do we know if we’re not getting enough sleep?  Value of medication and value & instructions for behavioural management of sleep problems.

 

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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