The last couple of days there has been lots of coverage about Kim Cattrall and her battle with insomnia which forced her to pull out of performing in the play Linda at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Yesterday lunch time I went on Radio Leeds with Andrew Edwards to talk about the story. Stories like this give me an opportunity to talk to the media about insomnia, how it is perceived, how it is often seen as a symptom and not a disorder in its own right and how, most importantly, we have no pathway for treatment in the National Health Service.
Kim was lucky, in that in the USA there are thousands of sleep centres that treat sleep issues and disorders. In the UK, if you are suffering from a sleep issue you have very little choice on where to go. If you go to your GP you may get put on sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are a little bit better than pointless, but not much. They are addictive, so are only certified to be used for 3 weeks at a time. They have massive side effects and the quality of sleep they give you is very poor. The clinically proven, gold standard treatment for insomnia, CBT-I (Cognitive Behaviour for Insomnia) is not available, as far as I know, on the NHS.
Until it is available and insomnia sufferers and their families have a clear path to treating their issue then we will have people all over the country going through what Kim Cattrall went through. The loneliness of Insomnia. The dread of bedtime, the feeling of despair when the sun comes up in the morning and you feel you haven’t slept.
A lack of sleep can shorten your life. It means you are more likely to get a plethora of illnesses. We can last longer without food than we can without sleep. Something needs to be done about it.
The Sleep Geek