Sleep difficulties

Difficulty sleeping is a common problem that many people experience during their lives. Just like nutrition and activity, sleep is a basic need that we all need to function. Those who do not get this need met can, for example, notice reduced concentration, irritability, sadness, sweet tooth, increased stress, discomfort in the body or a feeling of illness.

Are having sleeping difficulties common?

It is normal to have periods of poor sleep, this is not harmful. If, on the other hand, sleep difficulties become a persistent problem, it can lead to or worsen health problems. Anxiety and depression, for example, are often linked to sleep difficulties. The most common sleep problems are difficulty falling asleep, constant awakenings or problems sleeping through the night.

How do we fall asleep?

Roughly speaking, there are two biological processes that determine how tired we are and how quickly we fall asleep. The first is sleep pressure, which gradually increases the longer we have been awake. Sleep pressure remains somewhat elevated if, for example, we sleep little one night. Then it is usually easier to fall asleep the next day. The second process is the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is part of the brain's biological clock, and is affected by the time of falling asleep and (especially) waking up, as well as external factors such as light and nutrients from food. Sunlight or other blue light dampens the secretion of the substance melatonin in the brain, which is necessary for us to become tired. From nature's point of view, it makes sense that blue light from the sun wakes us up and gets us ready for the day. In a modern society characterized by blue light from various screens also in the evening, this biological mechanism is not as appropriate. It is therefore common advice to limit screen use in the evening.

How Dr.Dropin Psychology can help you

Psychologists are trained in treatment methods that work well to reduce sleep difficulties. When sleep is the main problem, treatment usually involves learning about the causes of one's sleep problems, initiating measures to improve sleep habits, and concrete work with thought content that affects sleep patterns.

It is, for example, common for expectations of sleep to change if you are used to lying for a long time without being able to sleep. The bed is associated with lying awake, worrying and feeling uncomfortable, and you may try to deal with the problem by lying longer in bed, scrolling on your mobile phone or thinking that you should fall asleep. This is very common, but unfortunately also perpetuates the sleep problems. Through documented treatment methods, our psychologists can help you change your sleep pattern and regain control over your sleep.

Dr. Dropin has psychologists who have extensive experience with physical and digital talk therapy against phobias. Find your psychologist here and download the app to book an appointment.

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Frequently asked questions about sleep

What is normal sleep?

There are big differences in how much sleep you need. Some people have a low need for sleep and feel rested after 5 hours, while others need far more to function well. Both parts are normal. Most people sleep between 6-9 hours a night.

What happens to the body when you don't sleep?

Insomnia can, among other things, lead to aching muscles, headaches, reduced immune system, increased stress, increased blood pressure, tremors and slow signal transmission in the brain. The effects will stabilize if you sleep normally again. Insomnia over time increases the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Is sleep deficiency dangerous?

Sleep deficiency is not dangerous for short periods, but over time it can affect memory and concentration, ability to work and productivity. With a lack of sleep, you can experience microsleeps, short flashes of sleep that you don't notice yourself. This increases the risk of accidents in traffic. For people with serious disorders, such as psychosis or bipolar disorder, sleep deprivation can worsen the disorder.

Can you sleep for too long?

A rule of thumb is that if you feel rested and clear during the day, your sleep has been good enough, regardless of its length. Sometimes it can feel good to sleep a lot even if it is not really good for your health, for example in the case of depression. Too much sleep, like too little sleep, is linked to health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, headaches, back problems and heart disease.

Why do I wake up in the middle of the night?

When we sleep, we repeatedly move through sleep stages of varying depth. Some people may find it easy to wake up when they are in the light stages of sleep. Often this is due to stress or other health problems.

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