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Sleeping Better: the impact of sleep on mental health

Misty window with raindrops on it

The UK is in the midst of a mental health crisis. The numbers of young people seeking support for depression and anxiety has soared over the last decade, and recent research suggests that three children in every classroom are now affected by a mental health condition.

It has been suggested that many mental health problems, particularly depression, are linked to poor sleep. In her most recent research, Professor Shirley Reynolds, Director of the Charlie Waller Institute (CWI), found that over 90% of depressed young people seeking NHS help, have significant problems with their sleep. These findings show that we need to learn more about the relationship between poor sleep and depression, yet despite this, sleep is not usually the focus for treatment of depression, and half of all young people who respond to treatment for depression continue to experience sleep problems.

Dr Faith Orchard, Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the CWI, has developed a new sleep therapy which is targeted at young people and delivered alongside the treatment for depression. The therapy focuses on promoting good sleep behaviours and restructuring an individual’s routine to improve their sleep.

Through the IMAGINE campaign, generous support from our donors has helped Dr Orchard pilot this new therapy. So far this new therapy has only been tested with a handful of patients, but the initial results suggest that the therapy has real potential as a treatment. Dr Orchard and other professionals from the CWI, have found that there has been a huge demand for this new intervention in patients that they are currently treating for depression and going forward, we need more support to enable us to develop more evidence to support these findings.

Dr Orchard will be exploring the relationship between mental health and sleep in a public lecture on the 21 November 2018. To book onto this event, please click here.


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