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Demand for sleep clinics in Manitoba on the rise, experts say need is there

Hundreds of Manitobans are looking for professional help as a way to treat their sleepless nights.

The province’s publicly run Behavioural Sleep Medicine Clinic saw more than 1,300 referrals to its clinic last year. More than 400 were treated.

Aaron Arkin, a psychotherapist at Careica, told 680 CJOB that sleep is a crucial part of one’s overall health and wellness. Careica is a private sleep clinic that, according to its website, helps Canadians “suffering from poor sleep & respiratory-related illnesses.”

“I think sleeping well should be a really important New Year’s resolution for all of you,” Arkin said.

Sleep health, he added, should be seen in the same light as spending money to go to the gym.

“Most people don’t think twice about it because they see the benefits of that,” he said.

Miranda Dorno, 53, said she went to Careica and was diagnosed with insomnia. Speaking to 680 CJOB, she said for her, a lack of proper sleep meant she was too tired to even drive — feeling like she was impaired.

She said she got a referral to the province’s publicly run sleep clinic, but the wait times were too long. Once the pandemic hit, she said she felt resigned, until she decided to pay out of pocket and go private.

“I wish I had learned about the sleep clinic years ago,” said Dorno, noting that therapy has helped her better understand what was going on. She also found a tool to help her fall asleep.

“The one that worked for me was actually a recording that I listen to every night when I go to bed. I have listened to so many different recordings. This recording was so basic and so simple, and it works like a charm. I would say almost every single night, I fall asleep right away.”

Dr. Norah Vincent, a psychologist with the Behavioural Sleep Medicine Clinic, told 680 CJOB that about seven to eight hours of sleep is needed for the average person. She further noted that the number can differ between people, where for some it can be six and for others it can be nine hours.

Prior to the pandemic, Vincent said the clinic saw 20 referrals every week. Now, that number has gone up to 35.

“We spend a lot of time in our bedrooms doing things other than sleeping, like working, talking, (and) solving problems, that the environment gets cued to being alert,” she said. “It’s less likely that we wake up in the middle of the night, we’re going to feel sleepy. We’re going to start feeling alert.”

— with files from 680 CJOB’s Lauren McNabb

Source: Global News, Talha Hashmani 

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