Sleep, sleep problems and sleep treatment: future directions for occupational therapists

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There is debate over whether sleep is an occupation, however as so many sleep problems are caused or exacerbated by occupational routine, and environmental factors, occupational therapists are uniquely positioned to assess and treat sleep problems. This presentation will give a very brief introduction to the science of sleep, and sleep problems, and discuss intervention approaches occupational therapists might employ.Current research regarding why we sleep, and the impact of poor sleep on physical and mental health and quality of life (Lee & Douglass 2010; Kyle et al. 2010), and on occupational and social functioning (Womack et al. 2013; Horne 2013) will be discussed. The sleep cycle and circadian rhythm will be visually depicted and explained, and current thinking on common sleep problems will be discussed.The available evidence for existing non-pharmacological interventions (including sleep hygiene, cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, relaxation, and mindfulness) will be briefly described, and the potential and theoretical basis for more occupation focused interventions will be discussed. The presentation will cover approaches to assessing sleep, including taking a sleep history. A case will be made regarding how therapists may help clients with sleep problems using their existing skills such as activity scheduling and environmental adaptation, and application of activity analysis and grading within sleep interventions. 
References:Horne, J., 2013. Overnight sleep loss and “executive” decision making-subtle findings. Sleep, 36(6), pp.823–4.Kyle, S.D., Morgan, K. & Espie, C. a, 2010. Insomnia and health-related quality of life. Sleep medicine reviews, 14(1), pp.69–82.Lee, E.K. & Douglass, A.B., 2010. Sleep in Psychiatric Disorders : Where Are We Now ? Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(7), pp.403–12.Womack, S.D., Hook, J.N., Reyna, S.H. & Ramos, M., 2013. Sleep loss and risk-taking behavior: a review of the literature. Behavioral sleep medicine, 11(5), pp.343–59.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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