There is an old saying ‘A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book’. Without a doubt getting the right amount of good quality sleep helps us with occupational participation and performance. Sleep gives us the energy we need to function in our day to day lives.
Sleep and mental health
Sleep and poor mental health can often be interlinked. We feel worse when we are not getting enough sleep or when we are oversleeping. However, when we are experiencing challenges to our mental health it can negatively affect our sleep patterns. Stress, anxiety and low mood can all impact on our ability to sleep well.
Occupational therapy and sleep
Occupational Therapists have a good understanding of sleep physiology and evidence based sleep hygiene practices. They are well placed to assess and address sleep difficulties.
To help understand what is going on Occupational Therapists will consider:
- Sleep routine- how you prepare for sleep
- Sleep latency- how long it takes to fall asleep
- Sleep maintenance- how long you stay asleep for at a time
- Sleep duration- the amount of sleep you get
- Daytime drowsiness/ energy levels
- Sleep environment
- The interplay between sleep and day time routine and activities.
Managing sleep problems
They will then develop a plan with you to help get your sleep back on track. This could include psychoeducation about sleep, changes to routines, managing fatigue, cognitive behavioural techniques in relation to sleep, addressing underlying concerns that may be impacting on sleep or modifying the environment.