Sleep Therapy

Sleep therapy is used to help individuals identify what may be contributing to their sleep problem.

Traditionally GPs have prescribed sleeping medication, however now the preferred treatment is talking therapies such as iCBT – cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia. This is starting to widen to incorporate mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy techniques.

Holistic Assessment

Sleep itself needs to be looked at from a holistic approach. Using knowledge of our circadian rhythms and the hormones involved in sleep we can improve our sleep purely through simple measures and education.The main hormones involved in sleep are melatonin and adenosine. Melatonin can be thought of as the hormone which starts off the sleep process – this ultimately leads to the sleep/wake switch in the hypothalamus turning to off – i.e asleep.

Adenosine is considered the ‘sleep pressure hormone’ and increases throughout the day so that after 18 hours of wakefulness it powerfully induces the brain to sleep in conjunction with approximately 16 other hormones. If a person falls asleep with a lower level of melatonin and adenosine then they may not have enough sleep drive (or pressure) to maintain a sufficient number of hours sleep.

Sleep Education

A knowledge of how these hormones are influenced by light, adrenaline and caffeine to name a few, informs sleep therapy. The human eye is sensitive visible light, and this light regulates our melatonin and circadian rhythm. Visible light is that part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is seen as colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.  Specifically, blue light has a very short wavelength, and as such suppresses the release of melatonin. This blue light is emitted by digital screens, the sun and fluorescent and LED lighting. Thus sleep hygiene practices address an individual’s bedroom environment and bedtime routines to ensure a reduction in exposure to blue light.

Modern Life

Superimposed upon these natural sleep mechanisms is modern life. Although this is now changing society does not value sleep as the essential behaviour that it is. All creatures sleep and without enough of it our health and quality of life are drastically reduced.

Conventional advice will recommend that a sleepless person gets up after 15 minutes of lying in bed – this does not address the underlying reasons behind sleeplessness and insomnia. Sleep therapy will help an individual stay in bed by addressing unhelpful sleep associations and habits. Support will be given to help an individual cope with the unpleasant process of staying in bed despite not sleeping, and ultimately retrain the brain to allow sleep to take place.

Sleep therapy may comprise of different techniques to improve sleep hygiene and support any anxieties which may result from making changes to an individual’s sleep.

Goodnight Solutions is pleased to announce they are now working in partnership with Salus Wellness Centre in Cambridge.

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