Having trouble sleeping is a common issue that many of us experience from time to time. Unfortunately, difficulty with sleeping can become a regular problem for many of us. This might include having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting restful sleep more nights than not. When this issue becomes chronic, it is referred to as Insomnia. Insomnia typically includes a number of consequences as a result of poor sleep. If you struggle with sleep, you might notice troubles with memory and concentration, increased anxiety, depression, and irritability, ongoing worries about sleep, and regular physical ailments (i.e., tension headaches or gastric distress). If it takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep and you experience some of the symptoms listed above, you may suffer from Insomnia.
How do we develop sleep troubles or Insomnia?
There are a number of factors that predispose us to developing Insomnia.
Some of these factors include:
- A family history of anxiety or sleep difficulties.
- Being a light sleeper/being easily startled.
- Having inconsistent bedtimes.
The above factors, combined with immediate stressors (which commonly include stress from psychological or emotional difficulties, changed sleep schedule due to a new job or other life factors, or sleep disturbances due to a medical condition or treatment) can work to together to develop and maintain sleep difficulties. Combine this with unhelpful habits (which may include daytime napping, drinking too much caffeine, or spending too much time in bed when you’re not sleeping) and difficulty sleeping can become a chronic issue.
How do you treat sleep difficulties or Insomnia?
Fortunately, there is effective therapy for Insomnia and other sleep difficulties. Most common among these therapies is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) along with sleep hygiene education. This therapy is particularly effective because it targets our daily habits, and particularly our nighttime habits, which play an incredibly important role in how we sleep. CBT-I and sleep hygiene help to incorporate healthier behaviors to promote better sleep along with developing healthy attitudes and changing unhelpful thinking about sleep.
A particularly encouraging note about CBT-I: Research shows that CBT-I has more long-term effectiveness for treating Insomnia than medical treatment (most commonly sleep medication).
What will I learn in CBT-I and Sleep Hygiene Training?
By participating in CBT-I and sleep hygiene training, you can expect to learn the following:
- How to keep a sleep diary to track how you sleep and how your sleep might be affected by your daily and nightly habits.
- What habits are helpful for promoting regular, restful sleep.
- What habits you should avoid to help improve sleep.
- How to effectively implement these healthy habits while eliminating these unhelpful habits.
- What to do if you cannot fall asleep or stay asleep in the middle of the night.
- Relaxation techniques to use throughout the day and especially in the hours before bedtime.
- How to identify and adjust unhelpful thinking that often contributes to our stress and frustration about sleep.
More Ways to Get Help Now
We offer cognitive behavior therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, mindfulness meditation, group therapy. and medication. Depending on your needs, here’s how you can get help now: