Lack of sleep hampering more than half of Suffolk people during lockdown
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Mental health fears have been raised after a survey found more than half of people in Suffolk are not sleeping properly during lockdown.
The survey was carried out by Suffolk Mind as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year is paying a close eye on the impacts of the coronavirus lockdown on people in their daily lives.
It found 53% of the 591 surveyed are not feeling rested after sleeping, while the same amount of people also felt their emotional need for community was not being met because of restrictions.
A similar survey of more than 2,700 nationwide by The Sleep Council found 75% of people’s sleep was negatively affected.
It is widely regarded that around eight hours sleep is the optimal amount for the average adult, with a good night’s sleep strongly linked to a person’s wellbeing.
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Among the most affected by the lack of sleep are the under-25s, with 87% of those surveyed by Suffolk Mind found to not feel rested after sleep, while 85% of those in full-time work also reported the same problem. Of those unable to work, 78% did not feel rested.
It is feared the lack of sleep could be due to workers losing their jobs or being put on furlough.
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Naomi Simons, research and evaluation manager for Suffolk Mind, said: “Sleep is often the first thing to go when someone is struggling with their mental health.
“Getting the right balance between dream sleep and other types of sleep, including deep recuperative sleep, can be affected by how well you are meeting other key emotional needs.
“Our research shows nearly two-fifths of people are not meeting their need for meaning and purpose at the moment. That could be due to losing work or being furloughed, which could lead to worry and, in turn, poor quality sleep.
“Many people are also struggling to meet needs for community, status and receiving attention.”
The charity has recently launched new counselling services to help aid NHS staff and the elderly through the pandemic.
Jon Neal, the charity’s chief executive, added: “It is really important we capture this data, so we can work on resources and services to help people with their own mental health – and not just now, but in the future when things change again.
“It is a difficult time for many at the moment, so we have been creating online blogs, videos and activities for children and adults to encourage them to meet their own emotional needs.”
Suffolk Mind tips on how to get better sleep
• Work on addressing unmet emotional needs – so that there is less to worry about
• Have regular times for going to bed and getting up – and stick to them
• Cut down on caffeine in the second half of the day
• Avoid watching TV or internet surfing in the two hours before we go to bed
• Use blackout blinds and/or eye masks to block out the light
Suffolk Mind coronavirus resources are available here.