Are you riding the new health improvement wave?

It would be hard to miss the increasing awareness of the importance of good sleep, which is fantastic. Within a few days, I had a client email me thanking me for providing sleep treatment advice that she hadn't received from her prior 3 health practitioners, a company requested me to provide a customised 1-day workshop on how to include sleep in clinical treatments and I saw the results of the HIF WA health survey on sleep. Are you riding this new health wave for your benefit and the benefit of your clients?

The HIF survey focused on three domains, Environment (where and how we sleep), Priority (knowledge and value of sleep) and Impact (personal and community). There are many nuggets to dig out of the full report but I wanted to focus on a couple and bring in some associated research. Around 7% rated their sleep knowledge as extremely good and when given 10 questions to answer only 7% got them all correct. So for an activity that is critical to mental and physical health and we spend 30% of our life perfecting, we actually don't know much. Luckily :) 74% are interested in learning more about sleep. 

So who do patients think will teach them?

Interestingly researchers found a disparity between who patients thought would teach them and whether they thought they would teach them. 60% of respondents believed it was 'extremely important' or 'important' that physiotherapists provide sleep advice. However, less than 50% thought it 'extremely likely' or 'likely' that this education would be provided. So it would seem that an opportunity awaits health practitioners willing to and able to ride the recent treatment wave for sleep problems.

How can we help our patients?

Whether you treat chronic spinal pain, people with osteoarthritis or you are trying to slow the tide of age, poor sleep quantity and or quality has been identified as worthy of consideration as part of an evidence-informed treatment program. And these are just some of the health conditions we can influence by improving sleep.

The great news is that as health practitioners we can go far beyond the generalised sleep hygiene advice often found circulating the net. Research and clinical guidelines provide us with strong evidence that the strategies underpinning cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia will assist clients experiencing poor sleep quality and or quantity. Improvements are both in the short and long term, and the solution can be provided either traditionally in an F2F mode or digitally.

Sleep is free...really

I find myself often saying, that just because sleep is free, we can't take it for granted. But in reality, when you are short sleeping it isn't not costing you. Having less than optimal sleep means that you are literally reducing the quality of and length of your life, a bit like getting sucked over the lip of a monster wave and not taking a breath before the plunge

You can find out more about improving your sleep health or that of your clients here.

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