Dr David Cunnington, co-founder of SleepHub, talks about his hope of preventing insomnia and associated depression and anxiety with the development of SleepHub.

Chronic insomnia and the associated mood changes and anxiety generally evolve over years. Providing information on sleep that people can use and strategies they can put in to place when they feel they aren’t sleeping well, is one of the aims of SleepHub. By making these resources available we hope to be able to prevent the development of chronic insomnia and associated depression and anxiety.

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One of the main reasons for wanting to establish SleepHub, a web-based resource with information about sleep is to try to prevent people from developing insomnia and the depression and anxiety associated with it.

We can identify people at risk of future insomnia because they’re people who have trouble with sleep. Insomnia doesn’t just come out of the blue. It comes on the background of fragile sleep, difficulty with sleep over a period of time, usually under stress or in acute circumstances that over years goes from not sleeping well to, yeah, now, I’m not sleeping well all the time to now, yeah, I’ve got depression and anxiety and not sleeping well. It’s often over decades. So it can be in our 20s and 30s not sleeping well, 30s and 40s getting more insomnia, 40s and 50s getting depression and anxiety.

What I see in my practice as a sleep physician is people in this category, people with insomnia, depression and anxiety, what I really want to get out in the community is really good resources for people at this stage who just feel they’re not sleeping well. They’re not having enough trouble they’re going to come and see a sleep specialist like myself. But if we can get good quality information, some good sleep tips, good understanding about sleep, we can actually change this process, so that people actually don’t progress on to insomnia and depression and actually have good sleep going forward and we can potentially prevent the development of depression and anxiety.

One of my other reasons for wanting to develop SleepHub is often what happens in my practice is I will start working with people with depression and anxiety and insomnia and as they start to improve, their symptoms come down into this range where they feel like they’re in the, “Yeah, I’m not sleeping well” range but not so much now difficult insomnia or anxiety. If I’ve got some good resources available that I can then link them in with an online community, updates on research about sleep, I hope to be able to maintain their improvements, to prevent them relapsing and hitting back on this track.

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