Closing the Sleep Gap in Mental Health: a one-day event for clinicians to improve knowledge of treating sleep problems in people with mental health difficulties | Events

Closing the Sleep Gap in Mental Health: a one-day event for clinicians to improve knowledge of treating sleep problems in people with mental health difficulties

9.30am – 5.00pm, Friday 13 January, University of Manchester Oxford Road Campus

Sleep is crucial for human health. We all know the feeling we get after a bad night’s sleep, but over time the effects of poor sleep can affect more than just the next day.  Poor sleep has been linked to a range of negative physical outcomes such as obesity, diabetes and poor cardiovascular health. [1]

People with mental health problems often report more sleep disturbances than the general population, and until recently it has been thought that poor sleep was just a side effect of mental health problems. But, we now know the opposite is also true and that sleep problems often pre-date the first symptoms of mental illness, and may contribute toward development of mental health problems, and poorer recovery. [2] It is therefore crucial to treat sleep problems in their own right rather than only viewing them as a symptom of mental illness.

However, there is a lack of evidence-based treatments for poor sleep in people with mental illness, and – both in specialist mental health services and general practice – clinicians often lack confidence in how to assess and treat sleep problems in this population. The result is that many sleep issues go undiagnosed and untreated for significant periods of time. For example, our ongoing research has shown that sleep apnoea, a potentially serious condition in which people repeatedly stop breathing while sleeping, is often undetected in people with mental illness.

Sleep science has advanced rapidly in recent years, and we want to get this information into the hands of clinical staff, to help reduce health inequality in people with severe mental illness. Closing the Gap Network are funding this event, run by clinical researchers from GMMH and Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust.

This event includes interactive presentations and workshops, designed to help you feel more confident about asking service users about their sleep, and to advise, intervene, and know when to refer to a specialist.

Attendees will improve their knowledge on:

  • The relationships between various sleep disturbances and mental health difficulties
  • Distinguishing between different types of sleep problems (differential diagnosis)
  • Insomnia, hypersomnia, circadian rhythm disturbance, parasomnias and sleep apnoea
  • The impact of psychiatric medications on sleep difficulties
  • Environmental factors and the impact of light exposure
  • Sleep treatments and technology
  • Current research on sleep and sleep treatment

Speakers include:

  • Kirstie Anderson (Consultant Neurologist specialising in sleep, and sleep in mental health)
  • Bryn Morris (Senior Clinical Physiologist in sleep services)
  • Guillermo Perez Algorta (PhD, Senior lecturer)
  • Louise Berger (Occupational Therapist specialising in insomnia treatment)
  • Sophie Faulkner (PhD, Occupational Therapist Researcher in mental health and sleep)
  • Altug Didikoglu (PhD, Circadian rhythm researcher)

For more information and to register, please visit: Closing the Sleep Gap in Mental Health (



[1] Buxton & Marcelli, 2010, Zaharna & Guilleminault 2010).

[2] Baglioni et al., 2011; Reeve et al., 2015; Waite et al., 2020

As a patient

As a service user, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Find resources for carers and service users  Contact the Trust

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