Medical services

Get a restful night with sleep coaching

What is a sleep disorder?

Do you wake up tired in the mornings or feel lethargic during the day? Do you have problems falling asleep? Do thoughts run through your head as soon as you lie in bed, or is your sleep restless? Sleep disorders can be the cause.

Park Igls Health Retreat Tyrol Austria Mayr Clinic Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are widespread, with around a quarter of Austrian women suffering from disturbed sleep. ‘Sleep disorders can affect anyone and are not necessarily linked to overloading in our personal or professional lives,’ explains Melanie Robertson, Psychologist at the Park Igls Mayr Clinic. The Park Igls offers weekly sleep coaching sessions where experts help identify the causes of sleep disorders and develop a therapeutic programme to treat them.

The most common causes of non-organic sleep disorders are anxiety, stress and depression. Common organic sleep disorders include restless legs syndrome (an overwhelming urge to move your legs), excessive daytime lethargy (narcolepsy) or sleep apnoea (excessive pauses in breathing), which is considered a high-risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases.

During sleep coaching, comprehensive body function measurements are taken and used to create an individual sleep profile, which forms the basis for treatment. ‘Learning certain relaxation techniques and information about sleep hygiene and the circadian rhythm (the often-quoted ‘inner clock’ which controls our sleep-wake cycle) are important elements in the coaching,’ explains Robertson.

Take sleep disorders seriously

Numerous scientific studies have shown that sleep disorders like sleep deficit, interrupted sleep and sleeping in the light can lead to significant health problems such as obesity, depression and high blood pressure. ‘Without a good night’s sleep, you can’t have a healthy gut or a functioning metabolism,’ adds Dr Peter Gartner, Medical Director at the Park Igls Mayr Clinic.

Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to memory loss, immune system disorders, chronic yawning, changes in judgment-making, increased risk of diabetes, slower reaction time, muscle tremors and aches, growth retardation and feeling cold. ‘As Mayr physicians, it is important to put everything in place so that our patients have a good night’s sleep. Comprehensive professional sleep diagnostics and sleep coaching are central to this,’ explains Gartner.

Expert tips for a restful night’s sleep


    Lie in bed for 15-30 minutes, concentrating on your breathing. If you haven’t fallen asleep, get up and do a low-stimulus activity like listening to soft music or try a home remedy like hop, valerian and or lemon balm tea or a cup of warm milk with honey.


    Stay calm, replace the pressure of expectations with serenity. Waking up during the night does not generally affect sleep quality and is completely normal.


    Pay attention to your environment. Most of us sleep in warm, dry bedrooms, but the ideal temperature for sleep is 18°C. Drape a wet towel over a radiator to prevent irritated mucous membranes which can disrupt sleep.


    Avoid blue light in the evening. The light from computer screens, TVs and smartphones puts the body into the day mode and disrupts your natural biorhythm.


    Only use your bed for sleep. Don’t watch TV or use your laptop in bed. It should be reserved exclusively for sleep.


    Practice breathing exercises. Use simple breathing exercises to soothe body, mind and soul. Inhale as though you were breathing in a beautiful fragrance, then breathe out slowly and deliberately, as if you were blowing air towards a candle without extinguishing it.


    Create sleep symbolism. Focus on a particularly beautiful image, like a soft breeze through a flower meadow or waves breaking on the beach. You can also imagine passing clouds or count sheep – as you might have done as a child.


    Get enough exercise. Regular physical activity improves sleep quality. Ideally exercise in the fresh air to let the natural light rebalance your internal clock.


    Eat lightly in the evening. Eating late and foods that are difficult to digest keep your digestion active. So avoid raw food in the evening and eat no later than three hours before going to bed. Drink alcohol only in moderation, as it has a negative effect on sleep.


    Find your own rhythm and routine. If possible, go to bed at a similar time in the evening and get up at a similar time in the morning. Developing a good rhythm makes it easier to fall asleep.


    Try group sleep coaching. Talking to others with the same problem and getting tips from experts helps reduce your self-induced stresses over sleep. You will go to bed calmer and be able to see your sleep disorder in a more relaxed light.

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