Minerva

Electronic insomnia, and other stories

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1910 (Published 26 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1910

Minerva generally sleeps well, but according to “the great British bedtime report” the average Briton goes to bed at 11.15 pm and achieves just six hours and 35 minutes of sleep, with a third of adults getting less than six hours (www.sleepcouncil.org.uk). Poor “sleep hygiene” such as watching television, checking emails, and using a laptop in bed can result in electronic insomnia. All of these can create stress, and they all emit bright light, which disrupts the production of natural sleep hormones. Exercise is the most useful solution to improve sleep.

Postcards sent to patients who have taken overdoses can cut the number of repeated self poisoning attempts. An Australian randomised controlled trial of 722 patients admitted to hospital with overdose compared sending eight supportive postcards over 12 months after discharge with usual follow-up care (British Journal of Psychiatry 2013, doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.112.112664). The intervention halved self poisoning events and reduced psychiatric admissions by a third after …

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