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Sleep report calls for GP training

The Mental Heath Foundation has called for a number of measures to be introduced to improve the nation's sleeping habits.

The Sleep Matters study says GPs should be given up-to-date training about the importance of sleep and additional information about a variety of therapies that can help people get a good night's rest.

Researchers have also urged NICE to develop official guidance on insomnia, including methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which teaches people how to control their response to situations.

More than 5,300 people were questioned for the Great British Sleep Survey portion of the report, with 37% saying they have a form of insomnia and just under a quarter (24%) revealing they have other problems such as sleep apnoea, teeth-grinding and sleeping excessively. Around 39% of respondents said they have no problems sleeping.

The survey is believed to be the biggest ever attempt to gauge Britain's sleeping habits.

Poor sleepers are four times more likely to have relationship problems and three times more likely to be unable to concentrate as those who get enough rest, according to a new report.

Mild, moderate or severe insomnia also causes issues with getting things done, while sufferers experience energy slumps and are three times more likely to feel low.

Not enough sleep over the long term is also linked to health problems such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Mental Health Foundation

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Yes I agree it would be very helpful. I work in an Occupational Health setting where the employees do shiftwork and sleep  problems are a great concern" - Maureen Hiles, Essex

"Yes - we should all be able to pick up on this problem so can selectively filter those who need more than general advice to those further trained to give more specialist help" - Barbara Wells, Dover

"I agree with Chris H (below). I suffer with insomnia and have tried many natural remedies to no avail. Resorted to mild sedatives on a few occasions when really desperate for sleep. GPs offer no solutions except chamomile tea. It can affect all aspects of life especially concentration and can lead to long term stress and depression. Extra training of GPs and maybe practice nurses too could help prevent long term problems" - Jude, Durham

"I have had insomnia for over 10 years. Other than teeth grinding I have none of the other problems but lack of sleep is awful. I have had many days when I have been dangerous driving and in my role as a nurse could possibly have endangered my patients. This is a REAL problem and does
need help" - Chris Hall, Newcastle

"I fear this is yet another example of disease-mongering. Most people with sleep problems need better self-help information.  They are not ill and they do not need 'treatment'. Also, scarce NHS resources such as trained CBT therapists should be used where they are most needed - treating people who have genuine mental illnesses" - Tim Watkins, Cardiff