Sleep disturbance can present in multiple ways. Some common problems include difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep (insomnia), sleeping far too much (hypersomnia), having repeated and distressing nightmares, and sleeping at times other than regular night bedtime hours (for example not sleeping at night, but sleeping during the day, referred to as circadian rhythm disorders). Sleep disturbance can be a disorder in its’ own right, a symptom of another disorder (for example, anxiety and depression), or particular to some groups of people (such as shift workers).
Having your sleep disrupted means not only will you feel tired and lack energy during the day, but you can also have difficulties with concentration, memory, clumsiness, irritability, decision making, and poorer mood. Reaction time increases, you’re more likely to be anxious and negative, more susceptible to stress and emotionally reactive. And your physical health deteriorates; sleep disorders and sleep deprivation increase the risk of a number of physical health conditions, such as heart attack and diabetes.
The importance of sleeping well cannot be overstated. Research shows that if left untreated, sleep problems such as insomnia tend to persist for years. It’s good to know that sleep disturbance often improves with psychological therapy.