There was a time when people thought that sleep was simply a time when the body and brain “shut off” for a few hours each night to rest in preparation for the next day. But now scientists understand that neither the body nor the brain “shut down” when we sleep; in fact, they are often working even harder than they do during the day, undergoing processes to restore cells, process information, and improve health.​

The human body follows a natural, (approximately) 24-hour pattern called the circadian rhythm. This rhythm is influenced by the environment (such as lightness or darkness) as well as your genetic makeup and determines your sleep patterns by releasing hormones when it’s time to sleep. Abnormalities in the circadian rhythm can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia.

If you toss and turn throughout the night, unable to find decent rest, you’re not alone. Recent surveys indicate that up to 40% of adults experience insomnia in a given year, making it the most common sleep complaint. Its most common symptoms are the inability to fall asleep at bedtime or stay asleep during the night, which often causes drowsiness and fatigue the following day.

Insomnia can be:

  • acute (lasting just a few days)

  • chronic (lasting a month or longer)

  • connected to another health condition

  • aggravated by stress or anxiety

  • triggered by a disruption in your daily routines (such as travel or a changing work schedule).

On average we need around 8 hours of sleep a night. That 8 hours is is an average is essential - some of us need slightly less, some of us need substantially more. The key is to get to know what your own needs are. We can then work out a sleep plan that meets those needs. This plan is uniquely individual.

Heather has a specific process to working with sleep in a way that combines Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi), psychotherapy and physiological understanding. Alongside practical, functional processes, Heather helps clients to understand their relationship with sleep and aims to help improve this essential part of life.

We all sleep differently. We each need different amounts, some of us are early birds, some are night owls and most of us are somewhere inbetween. The quality of our sleep is individual, so getting up close and personal with how we sleep is vital.

If we track and investigate how we personally sleep we can come to understand what is and isn’t normal for each of us.

By becoming aware of how we do our own sleep – we can then take steps to address how to improve this vital part of our lives.