People can worry if they think that they are not sleeping enough.  However, there is no correct amount of sleep that everyone must have.  Sleep is a natural process that is not directly under our control.  Our bodies take what they need.  Also people tend to need less sleep as they get older.  So, although some people may worry that they are not sleeping enough, in fact they probably are.

Sleep, however, can be affected by a range of things.  

For example, an increase in stress, anxiety or worry; the impact of our surroundings; the food or drink we have had; medication; a disrupted routine; physical problems, such as pain or bladder problems; and also what we are doing or not doing, such as not getting enough exercise.

Types of sleep

There are different types of sleep that we all go through at night - deep sleep and REM (Rapid eye movement) sleep.   Research suggests that these different phases of sleep have different purposes.   If we are getting less sleep in the short term, our bodies will adjust the type and quality of sleep to make sure we stay healthy.  So having only two or three hours of sleep for a good few days is unlikely to cause problems. 

Lack of sleep

However, people can experience problems if they are getting less sleep than they need for a long period of time.  They can be more irritable and have difficulties with concentration as well as feeling really tired.  They might also find themselves falling asleep during the day.   Over time their physical and also mental health may also be less good.

There are things that we can do (and that we can avoid doing) which can help us get a better night's sleep.  

See our Tips for Sleep leaflet and check out the resources below.

If you live in Fife, check out Sleepio (self-referral via Access Therapies Fife)

Sleepio image from Access Therapies Fife

Relaxation exercises

Hypnosis for relaxation

Eat well

Drink less

Complimentary therapies