Submitted by george.somers@… on

When exhaustion and trouble sleeping took a toll on their physical and mental health, husband and wife, Nick and Lucie - a vicar and a project manager in the Catford and Downham Team Ministry - knew they needed help.

Nick: During Covid, we lost a dear member of the parish I was very close to. We were also dealing with bullying from parishioners, and I had mental health struggles. It culminated in me having to take two months off work. In the mornings, I'd turn my alarm off and go back to sleep. Then I’d wake up stressed and have a manic time trying to get ready.

Lucie: I’ve got issues with anxiety and had a flare-up, meaning I couldn’t sleep. The anxiety was giving me physical symptoms too, like stomach pain. We’d tried lots to help our sleep: a sunlight clock that gradually turns on, pillow spray, meditation, and the military sleep method, but they weren’t working.

They tried our Sleepstation programme. Through online therapy sessions they could complete in their own time – with support from Sleepstation’s team of coaches, therapists, experts and clinicians – and with a sleep improvement plan tailored to their needs, their sleep patterns were transformed.

Lucie and Nick, dressed respectively in a black dress, and a blue shirt with glasses.

Looking for a solution

Nick: We found out about Sleepstation through one of the clergy Facebook groups. The Trust had helped us before with grants, allowing me to get to Guernsey for my grandfather’s funeral and supporting me to get my dyspraxia diagnosis. To be able to access it for free was very much appreciated.

Lucie: The first week, you tell the app when you’re going to bed and how you feel in the morning. In the second week, your sleep is restricted, which was tough. That resets your sleep and then you get to start going to bed earlier.

Nick: There’s a clear guide to help and videos that give you information on how you can make better decisions about your sleep. It gave us the framework to reorder our patterns and take away the stress.

Transforming their sleep

Lucie: It was good to do the programme together and it was nice to be able to compare notes and talk about it.

Nick: In just a couple of weeks, I noticed how much time I had in the morning, and I was really alert. I also found the wind-down discipline made a big difference. Before, I used to lie in bed trying to sleep. Now I might build Lego, read a book or sit with the cats until I feel sleepy. I certainly sleep better now than I have for a long, long time.

Sleepstation is available to serving and retired Anglican clergy, ordinands and their spouses/partners (including those who are divorced, separated or widowed).

The programme has been approved by the NHS, and participants complete therapy sessions in their own time, with proactive and reactive support from their helpful team of sleep coaches, therapists and experts.

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