Addressing the Importance of Sleep in those with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

In this latest BMC podcast, we speak to Sophie Faulkner, an occupational therapist from the Greater Manchester and Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester, about the need to address sleep appropriately in those with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

It’s widely known that a lack of sleep can impact mental health and wellbeing. For individuals with a psychotic illness, life stresses and the environment, as well as psychotic symptoms and medications can have a significant impact on sleep.

Many have reported that it can take over an hour to fall asleep and when they do, it is disrupted throughout the night. Difficulties like this can affect day to day life for individuals who they feel they cannot be at their most alert and they find this largely impacts their working and social life.

Sophie believes there is a need to increase awareness and knowledge about sleep in the mental health workforce. Not only should sleep be discussed but sleep should be a part of the discussion when it comes to other aspects of treatment. For instance, professionals who are prescribing should consider the effect that certain antipsychotics have on sleep.

Some have stated that sleep disturbance is an inevitable part of their illness, and since many will not bring up these problems, it must be asked about. Sophie stresses that the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for schizophrenia and schizophrenia substance abuse should be updated as sleep is not officially mentioned by name.

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