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This week on Sleep Sunday we are writing on understanding insomnia. I received an email from Sleep Hubs International Sleep Charity who are hosting a FREE event on Zoom on the 22nd July between 12-1pm, with professor Jason Ellis.

About the Talk –

During this talk Professor Ellis will introduce us to Insomnia Disorder. Starting with a brief history, the talk will go on to outline the current diagnostic criteria for insomnia. Following, we will be introduced to the theories and models of how insomnia both develops and is maintained, whilst examining the literature as to whether this is the case. Finally, Professor Ellis will provide a brief overview of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), the first line management strategy for insomnia.

If your interested then head to this link to register.

Dr. Ellis is a Professor of Sleep Science and Director of Northumbria Sleep Research in the United Kingdom. He is a qualified Somnologist – Expert in Behavioural Sleep Medicine from the European Sleep Research Society and a Practicing Psychologist under the HCPC. He splits his time between his basic research interests: the pathophysiology of sleep disorders (Insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome, and Circadian Rhythm Disorders) and his applied work on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

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I wrote an article in April “LET’S TALK ABOUT “CORONASOMNIA”…THE INABILITY TO FALL AND STAY ASLEEP” which explained what Coronasomnia OR Covid-Somnia means. Basically it means the inability to fall and stay asleep.

Since that article there have been a number of other articles written on the subject as it appears to be quite a common side effect of the Corona-virus. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has affected our sleep even in the earliest months of the pandemic. It’s not a symptom or after affect of having Covid although some suffer from it post Covid, but something many people started to suffer from it with the worry about Covid.

They say that many were suffering from a variety of increased sleep disturbances, including problems falling or staying asleep, sleeping less, experiencing worse quality sleep, and having more disturbing dreams. It is quite common to lose sleep over something sometimes, but after a sustained period of insomnia, the condition becomes chronic. 

The age for problems sleeping includes younger people — sleep disturbance seemed to affect adults aged 35-44 at the highest rates — women, people whose mental health suffered during the pandemic, and people whose physical health suffered, whether because they got more sedentary or engaged in less healthy behavior.

Scary Mommy wrote that Dr. Steven Altchuler, a psychiatrist and neurologist who specializes in sleep medicine at the Mayo Clinic confirmed that, “If you’re having insomnia, you’re in good company — much of the world is, too. It’s a consequence of all the changes we’re experiencing in Covid.”

The Raconteur wrote on ‘tackling coronasomnia: how to improve your sleep hygiene‘ – Dr Abhinav Singh, a doctor on the medical review panel for the Sleep Foundation, believes that both extrinsic and intrinsic factors have been to blame. 

Singh, who has developed his own protocol, which he calls the four-play method involves doing the following activities for 10 minutes apiece before bedtime: take a warm shower, which helps “to cool the core and support the release of the sleep hormone melatonin”; write a journal entry, which helps to offload worries; read a book; and meditate. 

He says that such a routine helps to condition the brain and body for sleep, especially when combined with other measures, including the avoidance of caffeine consumption and exposure to blue light within an hour of bedtime. Keeping the bedroom as dark as possible is also recommended.

Experts do agree that discovering whatever approach works best for you, rather than following prescriptive actions such as the avoidance of certain foods, is the most straightforward way to get a better night’s sleep.