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An Expert’s View into Insomnia

 

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Insomnia

Having a good night’s sleep is dependent on our own individual sleep architecture but the amount and quality of our sleep is affected by a host of internal and external factors.

The Healthcare Holiday interviewed Insomnia Expert & Sleep Consultant Birgit Buenger

Is Insomnia a growing malaise?

Sleeplessness has been declared an epidemic and an unmet health problem. Based on a representative survey in the US between 1993 and 2007, the number of help seekers complaining of sleep issues was close to double. Over that same period, insomnia diagnosis increased more than 7-fold. These numbers are a good indicator to the scale of growth we are facing.

Sleeplessness can occur at any age, especially affecting women and adults from 65 years old Interestingly, those aged 18 to 44 and 45 to 64 seem to be the main groups stating sleeplessness as a health problem or who receive an insomnia diagnosis.

What are the major causes of Insomnia today?

The factors playing into Insomnia are more varied than we realise. These include:

  • Personality traits
  • Stress levels
  • Sleep environment
  • Behaviour
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Medication & supplements
  • Stimulants

Which specific lifestyles are more liable to Insomnia?

Age related natural changes which include menopause, lighter sleep patterns, health issues and increased medication

Those exposed to the “24/7″ society life are prone to psychosocial stress, an unbalanced diet, eating on the go, lack of physical activity and an excessive use of electronics

Lifestyle factors, namely smoking, drinking, weight, mental health, consistent late nights and sleeping with stress

Personal and socio-demographic factors such as income, family & financial concerns

Workplace factors which include shift work and change of time zones

What about “power napping” during the day?

Those with a healthy sleep architecture will benefit, others may suffer as it can confuse the natural sleep pattern.  A power nap should be a maximum of 20 minutes

How much sleep is enough?

To define how much sleep is enough it is important to determine daytime functioning and sleep quality. Four weeks assessment will help to get an understanding of how much sleep is needed and if corrections in the process are required.

However, ideally it is between 7 and 9 hours but this depends of an individual’s sleep architecture. There are tests which evaluate what “ideal” means to them.

Two useful resources can help:

The Stanford Sleepiness Scale helps to define day time functioning https://web.stanford.edu/~dement/sss.html to capture every day.

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) will help analysing sleep – a GP will assist reading the results

http://uacc.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/psqi_sleep_questionnaire_1_pg.pdf

Can you sleep too much?

Yes. You tend to know if you have exceeded your limit if you feel groggy or suffer with a headache.

About Birgit Buenger

Birgit has made it her mission to change the way Insomnia is addressed through the healthcare system, medical professionals, corporations and individuals.  She has spent years working her way out of chronic insomnia and into a place of knowledge and actionable steps.

She will be speaking at Somnex, a Sleep Exhibition in London in October, addressing medical professionals as well as the public.

SOMNEX | The Sleep Showis taking place at The Old Truman Brewery in London from 12th – 14th October 2018. For further information please visit https://www.somnexshow.com/

 

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The importance of sleep and wellbeing in the office

 

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As workplace stress and anxiety continues to increase, the importance of quality sleep is becoming increasingly critical for employers and organisations alike. SOMNEX | The Sleep Show, the first show dedicated to sleep health will bring together a variety of experts who specialise in sleep and wellbeing in the workplace. From sleep coaches working with major corporations such as Coca Cola and Next, to the Clinical Director of Occupational Health for BUPA UK, SOMNEX will delve into sleep in the workplace with selection of panels, workshops and keynote speeches.

Take a sneak peek at some of the top tips and insights from a selection of speakers who will be discussing the importance of sleep in the workplace at SOMNEX on 12th-14thOctober in London.

James Wilson, Sleep Behaviour and Environment Expert “The Sleep Geek”

Having worked with charities, football teams and global organisations including Coca Cola and Pret a Manger, Wilson continues to spread the message that if you sleep well your mental health will improve, relationships with colleagues will improve, and work will improve. Wilson’s work involves providing personalised seminars in the workplace as well as drop-in clinics for employees to ask about their own sleep problems.

“When it comes to the health of organisations, sleep has to be the foundation that their wellbeing strategy should be built upon. The impact of sleep on all aspects of our physical and emotional wellbeing, in terms of our mental health, our physical recovery, our ability to stick to healthy eating plans and exercise regimes means that a sleep programme, delivered in an engaging way, that offers participants an understanding of their sleep and easily achievable behavioural, environment and mindset changes, leads to an organisation with less accidents, less absence and a workforce that are more physically and emotionally resilient,” Wilson states.

Wilson recently ran a number of seminars with Westfield Health staff that were designed to help them understand their sleep better and to give them tools to make small, but significant, behavioural changes. Wilson also ran drop in clinics for those with real ingrained sleep issues. Some headline stats include:

  • 79% of employees have some sort of sleep issue
  • 53% feel tired most of the time
  • 38% have trouble concentrating
  • But only 13% have sought help from a medical professional.

So what is the solution? Wilson divulges his Top Tips for a Better Nights’ Sleep:

  • Start getting ready for bed at least an hour before sleeping
  • Reduce blue light exposure before bedtime
  • Ensure the sleeping environment is cool e.g. open the windows to allow a breeze
  • Ensure any television viewing is relaxing rather than stimulating
  • Understand your own sleep needs e.g. if someone is a hot sleeper then use a thinner duvet

Friday, 12th October. James Wilson will be conducting a workshop on how you go about developing sleep initiatives as an employer and what practical things you can do to increase awareness and education around sleep health. Wilson will also talk through the latest tools and tech available.

Nancy H. Rothstein, MBA, The Sleep Ambassador®, Director CIRCADIAN Corporate Sleep Programmes 

From millennials to baby boomers, employees are reporting that they cannot sustain the pace of our 24/7 culture. For employers, a well-rested employee, at any level, is an asset; good sleep is essential for optimising productivity and performance. “Research confirms that when leadership supports a sleep-friendly culture…both employer and employee reap the benefits,” Rothstein states. The need for corporate sleep programming is reflected at one Fortune 25 company; over 1,000 employees have chosen to engage in a 4-week, self-managed sleep improvement programme provided by outside experts and over 75% have reported an improvement in their sleep.

Friday, 12th October. Nancy will be doing a keynote, talking about the business of sleep and the opportunities it presents. She will also be moderating a panel on how employers are currently incorporating sleep as part of their wider health and wellness initiatives. 

Dr Jenny Leeser, Clinical Director of Occupational Health in BUPA UK

Working with BUPA clinicians to support customers’ occupational health programmes, Dr Leeser wants individuals and organisations to understand the negative impact that lack of sleep can have on mental health, workplace safety and productivity, and how important it is for workers to give their brain time to rest. “A lack of sleep can have a negative impact on employees’ ability to focus on large amounts of information or sustain their attention for prolonged periods…in the long-term, lack of sleep makes people more susceptible to chronic illnesses which can result in absence from work.”

Jenny’s top tips and recommendations to improve sleep quality include:

  • Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Avoid watching TV or using a laptop, tablet or mobile in bed

Friday 12th October, 13:00- 14:00. Jenny will be hosting the following mini workshop and Q&A, exploring the following topics:

Mini Workshop: Sleep, Work And Wellbeing – The Role Of The Employer

  • The productivity and performance consequences of poor sleep
  • The impact of poor sleep duration and quality
  • Tools and techniques to improve sleep quality
  • Factoring in shift work, clinical depression and other mental health issues
  • Embedding a sleep element into your health and wellbeing strategy
  • Addressing the ‘napping’ trend

The ‘luxury’ of restful sleep tops UK hotel and travel trade agenda

UK travel industry professionals to speak at SOMNEX

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The benefits of a good nights’ sleep have never been so well documented and yet the average Brit only gets six hours and nineteen minutes of shut-eye a night. Now, the travel & hospitality industry is taking sleep more seriously than ever before as it goes back to basics and promotes slumber as the ultimate luxury.

Key authors, professors, economists and sleep device developers from across the industry will explore the trend during SOMNEX | The Sleep Show, the first show dedicated to sleep health, taking place at the Old Truman Brewery, in London’s East End, on 12-14 October.

“In hotels across the world, pillow menus, ambient lighting and herbal teas have long come as standard, but today they have upped their game to offer exercise classes, in room massages and even bespoke supper menus,” said Bansri Shah, co-founder and organiser of SOMNEX | The Sleep Show.

Over three days, SOMNEX will showcase and explore the latest developments in sleep, covering hospitality, travel and retail, as well as other areas. More than 120 companies will feature in the SOMNEX exhibition, each displaying their innovative products and technology.

At Tokyo’s Park Hyatt, for example, guests can unwind at a “good night sleep stretch” class and at Arizona’s Hyatt Regency, they can indulge and turn off with eucalyptus and lavender pillow mist, silk eye masks, aromatherapy and even sound machines.

Another pioneer of the five-star slumber, Four Seasons launched its Signature Sleep programme around the world in 2014 but theFour Seasons Hotel Shanghai took things a step further, with a customised Signature Sleep Menu.

The experience begins with an appetiser: a seafood dinner prepared by the executive chef and followed by a 90-minute spa experience, with herbal steam, acupuncture and a hot bath of Tibetan roseroot bath salts.

For the main course, guests select their pillow from a menu of six – including buckwheat and music – and receive a lavender eye pillow and diffuser. For dessert, a magnesium rich smoothie of Valrhona chocolate, banana and walnut is prepared and, the next morning, guests awake to a champagne breakfast in bed.

Airlines are getting in on the action, too. British Airways was the first to pioneer the lie-flat seat in its Club World cabin in 2000 and today also offers passengers luxury bedding and amenities.

However, many have built on its innovation. Qatar Airlines features adjoining cabins in business class, which combine to create a double bed and Air France offers an extra-long bed for those who are six feet or taller. Meanwhile Etihad has The Residence, a three-room suite with a full-sized bed, while first class guests enjoy a feather duvet and pillows, pillow mist and pulse point oil.

Last year, a US mattress company teamed-up with American Airlines to develop eight new inflight sleeping products for passengers in first class, business class and premium economy. The suite of products includes a mattress pad to fit over the seat, a regular pillow and a lumbar pillow, a pillowcase, duvet blanket pyjamas and slippers.

Speaking at the show, Christopher Babayode, a partner at Improve your Sleep Now and author of NoJetStress’ said: “It’s tempting to try and squeeze and additional hour into the day – an early start for a workout or a late finish to box off emails. But each time we do, we take time out from our body’s chance to regenerate and rest. Sleep truly is a luxury these days, but it needn’t be that way. As the hospitality industry shows us, there are many ways to promote better sleep and, ultimately, overall wellbeing,”

Addressing delegates on the opening morning of the show, about how hotels can improve their guests’ sleep, Dr. Rebecca Robbins asleep researcher and co-author of Sleep for Success!commented: “When we travel sleep becomes even more important and being unable to get a good rest can really take its toll, whether the trip is for business or pleasure.Over recent years hotels have focused on technology, brand experiences and restaurants, but now the focus is coming back to basics and it’s all about ensuring each guest has the best nights’ sleep possible,” she said.

Awareness of sleep’s overall impact on health and wellbeing has transformed the global market for sleeping products, which has graduated from beds and bedding to incorporate respiratory devices, supplements, full body supports and wearables.

Innovation is also a key driver for the industry and will be represented at SOMNEX with exhibitors such as luxury bed manufacturer FreshBed, who have recently partnered with UK-based Zeez Sleep. Barry van Doornewaard, founder of FreshBed, commented: “According to the European Bedding Industries Association (EBIA), stress and uncomfortable temperature are the most common reasons why many people don’t get a good night’s sleep.

“Freshbed solves the temperature issue by creating a conducive microclimate, and by teaming up with Zeez Sleep Pebble, the quality of sleep is now also improved by reducing the impact of stress – it can also help long haul passengers overcome jet lag,” he added.

Other activities during SOMNEX include, the ‘demo zone’ will showcase the full spectrum of sleep products including eyewear, wearables, apps and skincare during individual twenty-minute sessions.

http://www.somnexshow.com

 

Wake up! The first ever sleep health exhibition is launching in London


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Snooze, doze, nap, forty winks…. the answer to a good night’s sleep is not a dream. A new dedicated sleep exhibition is set to awaken the industry in London this October.

With sleep deprivation costing the UK economy £4.6 million per hour, SOMNEX The Sleep Show has been designed as a platform to bring together the entire sleep industry as well as generate better awareness around the impact of poor sleep for consumers and how they can improve it.

This three-day event will be split into one trade and corporate day on Friday 12 October, followed by two consumer days on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October. The event will address key issues across the full spectrum of sleep health andwill feature over 120 companies displaying their innovative products and technology.

Leading research company RAND Europe recently unveiled that the issue of sleeplessness is real and costs the UK economy over £40 billion annually, which works out at an astonishing £4.6 million every hour.Marco Hafner, Senior Economist at RAND and co-author of their report ‘Why Sleep Matters’ will be discussing these findings and their impact on the economy in more detail at SOMNEX | The Sleep Show.

James Cox, CEO of Simba, comments: “You might think your five-hours-a night is nothing to worry about but chronic sleep deprivation can not only affect cognitive performance at work but has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and can even affect your performance in endurance sports.

Focusing on the trade and corporate day, the show gets down to business with opening session ‘Why all roads lead to sleep: Waking up to the importance of sleep and how much your health and well-being depends on it’ following the inaugural address. Using the latest research, scientists & experts will examine the link between the quality of sleep and physical & mental health.

Other presentations will take an in-depth look at industry trends and attitudes towards the sleep industry and the sleep strategies embraced by the retail and hospitality sectors.

During the show, the ‘demo zone’ will showcase the full spectrum of sleep products including eyewear, wearables, apps and skincare during individual twenty-minute sessions.

For very specific sleep issues facing different industry sectors, the organisers have designed five dedicated stages which will address separate industry verticals, which include retail, travel and hospitality, sports and fitness, healthcare and education.

The global sleep aids market is currently categorised by Research and Markets into mattress and pillows, sleep laboratories, medications, and sleep apnea devices. However, the business of sleep has rapidly expanded recently to include many more categories from the wider health and wellbeing industry to the tech sector.

 

SOMNEX | The Sleep Show is an independent and neutral platform. It takes place on 12-14 October in London at The Old Truman Brewery.

Of note: We do not endorse or represent any specific brand, product, methodology or approach around sleep. We welcome all those working across the sleep sector. SOMNEX has been created as a platform to facilitate and ignite discussion, debate and awareness around this very important and current topic.