The Living Well Programme is a free self-management course for adults living with long term health conditions – physical and/or mental – to learn the skills of self-management of a long term health condition. 

The courses are led by volunteer tutors, all of whom have long term conditions and are therefore have lived experience of the common problems faced by participants, and how to manage them. 

The courses run online with around 10 participants over 6 weeks, with regular weekly sessions of 2 hours. 

When it is safe to resume face to face contact the courses will start in the community again.

More information about the service, and contact details for self-referral can be found here: Living Well Programme at Sussex Community services
Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder. Individuals with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.
People with insomnia often don’t feel refreshed when they wake up from sleeping, either. This can lead to fatigue and other symptoms.

Insomnia is the most common of all sleep disorders. About one-third of all adults report insomnia symptoms. But between 6 to 10 percent of all adults have symptoms severe enough for them to be diagnosed with insomnia disorder.

Insomnia is a disorder in which people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Doctors make a clinical diagnosis of insomnia if both of these criteria apply:

– Sleep difficulties occurring at least three nights a week for a minimum of three months.
– Sleep difficulties creating major distress or functional difficulties in a person’s life.
– The causes of your insomnia will depend on the type of sleeplessness you experience.
– Short-term insomnia may be caused by stress, an upsetting or traumatic event, or changes to your sleep habits.
– Chronic insomnia lasts for at least three months and is usually secondary to another problem or a combination of problems, including:
-medical conditions which make it harder to sleep, such as arthritis or back pain
-psychological issues, such as anxiety or depression
-substance use
Risk factors for insomnia
– high levels of stress
– emotional disorders, such as depression or distress related to a life event
– lower income
– traveling to different time zones
– sedentary lifestyle
– changes in work hours, or working night shifts

Certain medical conditions, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease, can also lead to insomnia. Menopause can lead to insomnia as well.

If you want to understand the importance of sleep watch this TED talk by Dr Matt Walker
Sleep station – NHS online insomnia service – for more details please see the link below:
Tips for managing Insomnia
The following NHS websites provide useful information on managing insomnia.

The sleep council is an organisation promoting the importance of good sleep and has a number of useful resources on its menu.
Sleep Diary:
How can your GP help?
Insomnia is best managed by non medication approaches. If the helpful guidance in the web sites above fail then your GP may recommend referral for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) by a counsellor. This is provided locally by Time To talk and you can self refer for this service via the Adult Mental Health section on the Surgery website.

Medication can help if used for short periods but only treat the symptom not the cause. Older, sedating Antihistamines are available over the counter with pharmacists advice and do not have problems with dependence. Prescription sleeping tablets are based on a class of drug called Benzodiazepines. Your GP may recommend these in a small number of cases of insomnia, however the major drawback of these drugs are they are dependent forming and when this happens rebound insomnia occurs when they are withdrawn.

If medication is used for insomnia it is very important to be aware that it could impair driving and operating machinery.
There is an NHS sleep clinic in East Grinstead but this is for specialised sleep conditions like narcolepsy and does not deal with insomnia unless it is a very complex case.
Stopping smoking can make a drastic improvement to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate and some are longer-term.

Most smokers want to stop but quitting is hard. Many people make several attempts before they succeed. It’s even harder when people are dealing with stress in their lives.

To improve their chances of quitting, all smokers need:
– effective services and therapies
– supportive social networks
– smoke free environments

Local stop smoking services offer the best chance of success. They are up to 4 times more effective than no help or over the counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). However, the number of people using these services is falling. Around 450,000 people set a quit date through stop smoking services from April 2014 to March 2015. Instead, most smokers use the quitting methods with the least evidence of effectiveness.

Stop smoking services need good referral routes. Health professionals, such as GPs, midwives, pharmacists, dental teams and mental health staff are often well placed to refer smokers to these services. Services also need to be responsive to local needs and targeted to provide the right support to the people who need it most. For example, people with mental health problems may need higher doses of NRT and more intensive behavioural support than the general population.

If you are keen to discuss this further please contact the surgery and we will arrange for you to see our practice nurse who supports people to stop smoking in surgery.