Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is The Gold
If improving sleep hygiene and other lifestyle changes alone dont help with your sleep, the next step is cognitive;behavioral therapy to improve sleep and reverse chronic insomnia. Aouad says its a better option than medication.
Medication will help you as long as its in your system, so thats a day or two, she says. While there are some appropriate uses for prescription sleep aids , they can come with extremely dangerous side effects, and they tend to be highly addictive. The benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy, a specific type of counseling to help with the anxiety around sleep that comes with chronic insomnia, have been shown to far outlast medication, Aouad explains.
According to a study published in May;2012 in the journal;BMC Family Practice, cognitive behavioral therapy is better at improving sleep efficiency than common drugs, and led;to an extra 30 to 60 minutes in sleep time when the two treatment strategies were compared.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on teaching techniques to help you relax, control your breathing and mood, slow down your racing mind, and get to sleep. Really, the basis of it is providing education, talking about sleep drive and teaching people things like stimulus control and avoiding anything stimulating around bedtime, Aouad says. Think of it as reteaching your body how to sleep.
Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy To Fight Insomnia
Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer notes that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is probably the most effective treatment for chronic insomnia. CBT-i requires some effort, but its proven to help people return to more normal sleep patterns. And bonus: Behavioral treatments are more effective and longer-lasting than sleep aids.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is our treatment of choice, Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer says. About 70 to 80% of people have improvement without the use of medication so its effective.
The goal of this ongoing therapy is to help you change your sleep-related thinking, habits, schedules and behaviors. For example, you may need to change your habit of using your bed for activities such as working on your laptop.
CBT-i also includes regular follow-up visits with a behavioral sleep medicine specialist. This therapist may:
- Have you keep a sleep diary
- Examine your sleep/wake habits to pinpoint the actions that are preventing you from sleeping soundly
- Educate you about sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques
To find a sleep specialist, ask your doctor for a referral. But dont despair if there isnt one in your area. Other effective options are available, including Cleveland Clinics online Go! To Sleep program.
Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer adds that one of the best things you can do to take back the night is stay consistent. We need to be more mindful of our sleep routines, she says. Your brain likes routine.
How To Beat Insomnia: What To Try First
The first step for how to beat insomnia should be to make sure you are following good sleep hygiene practices. If you still experience insomnia symptoms, move on to a more structured program of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Find healthcare providers in your area that offer the program or buy a book or online program and commit to working through all the sessions/steps. Dont panic, its quicker and simpler than it sounds.
If cognitive behavioral therapy doesnt cure your insomnia, try either 3mg melatonin, as described above, or a combination herbal sleep formula, such as magnolia and ziziphus or valerian, passionflower, and hops.
You dont have to live with insomnia or rely on prescription drugs for the rest of your life. Well-tested, natural insomnia solutions are available to get you sleeping through the night on a permanent basis.
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Insomnia Tips To Help You Fall Asleep Without Drugs
Difficulty with sleep is one of the most common patient complaints presenting to the primary care office.
Chances are, you will suffer from difficulty with insomnia at some point in your lifetime. It can be distressing, and cause difficulty with functioning during your wake hours. The first thing you may want to do is to run to the doctor for a prescription for a medication to help you sleep.
However, you dont always need to rely on medications. In fact, insomnia can usually be cured on your own by simply changing your lifestyle and routines.
Resist the temptation to run to the doctor right away, and instead take some steps to treat your insomnia naturally before you seek your physician:
1. Adopt a routine schedule: Try to maintain a regular, routine sleep/wake schedule. That is, go to bed at the same time every night and awaken at the same time each morning no matter how sleepy you are. This may cause some difficulties the first few nights, but eventually your body will get used to maintaining the same schedule. Do not vary your weekend schedule by more than one hour from your weekday schedule.
2. Avoid taking daytime naps: People who nap have more difficulty falling asleep at nighttime. If you can skip your nap, you will find that you will be able to not only fall asleep faster, but will be able to better maintain your sleep during the nighttime.
Jill of All Trades is a family physician who blogs at her self-titled site, Jill of All Trades, MD.
Behavioural And Cognitive Therapies
If you have severe persistent poor sleep, your doctor may refer you to a psychologist or other health professional for psychological treatments. These are various therapies which help re-train your brain and the way you feel, think or behave. Research studies have found that there is a good chance that behavioural and cognitive therapies will improve sleep in adults with insomnia. Increasingly, research has also shown that some of these therapies can be delivered digitally .
There are various types of therapy and they include the following:
Stimulus-control therapy. This helps you to re-associate the bed and bedroom with sleep and to re-establish a consistent sleep/wake pattern.
Sleep restriction therapy. Very briefly, the principle of this treatment is that you limit the time that you spend in bed at night. As things improve, the time in bed is then lengthened. An example of the way that this may be done in practice is as follows:
Relaxation training. This teaches you ways of reducing tension. For example, this may include the progressive muscle relaxation technique as described earlier, plus various other techniques described earlier.
Paradoxical intention. This involves staying passively awake, avoiding any intention to fall asleep. It is used for people who have trouble getting to sleep .
Cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is often used in combination with a behavioural intervention ; this is then called cognitive behavioural therapy .
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Use Pillows To Ease Low Back Pain
People who suffer from low back pain often have trouble sleeping. In one study, people who had acute or chronic low back pain reported equal problems with sleep quality. The level of pain was not associated with rest disturbance. If you’re plagued with back pain, try sleeping on your side to reduce pressure on your lower back. Place a pillow between your knees to make sure your hips are in alignment to further reduce low back strain. Make sure your mattress is supportive enough and that it doesn’t aggravate your back pain. When getting into and out of bed, swing both legs together and avoid bending at the waist to protect your back.
Are Natural Sleep Remedies Safe For Pregnant People
Certain natural sleep remedies like yoga, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques are great for pregnant people to maintain a healthy, relaxed body and mind. If these techniques also aid in sleep during pregnancy, that is even better. However, some supplements, aromatherapies, herbs, and teas may not be safe to use while pregnant, and you should consult with your physician before trying any of these methods.
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Cut Caffeine Or Alcohol Intake
Drinking coffee, especially a few hours before your bedtime, can affect how you sleep in a big way. Alcohol, on the other hand, might help you get to sleep but you wont get a good rest, as it can trigger frequent awakenings and sleep interruptions. Some maintenance medications might have the same effects as caffeine and alcohol when it comes to sleep, so ask your doctor for other alternatives if this is the case.
Relieving Anxiety That Keeps You From Falling Or Staying Asleep
If sleep worries are getting in the way of your ability to unwind at night, the following strategies may help. The goal is to train your body to associate the bed with sleep and nothing elseespecially not frustration and anxiety.
Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. With many of us working from home now, it can be difficult to avoid, but if possible dont work, use your computer, or watch TV in your bedroom. The goal is to associate the bedroom with sleep alone, so that your brain and body get a strong signal that its time to nod off when you get into bed.
Move bedroom clocks out of view.;Anxiously watching the minutes tick by when you cant sleepknowing that youre going to be exhausted when the alarm goes offis a surefire recipe for insomnia. You can use an alarm, but make sure you cant see the time when youre in bed.
Get out of bed when you cant sleep. Dont try to force yourself to sleep. Tossing and turning only amps up your anxiety. Get up, leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing, such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath. When youre sleepy, go back to bed.
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Top Tips For Better Sleep
These strategies are fairly easy to apply and are highly effective. ;If you have been doing all 15 of these strategies and are still struggling with insomnia, it is extremely important that you work with a functional health practitioner to find the underlying root cause of your disorder.
You should be able to fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed and be able to sleep with minimal waking for 7-9 hours continuously. ;It is vital that you take this seriously.
Do Natural Sleep Aids Have Side Effects
Some natural sleep aids can have side effects. For example, certain herbs or dietary supplements may cause allergic reactions in some people. Melatonin may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and excessive sleepiness . Drug interactions can also occur, which is why it’s important to check with your doctor before taking any new supplements.
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Techniques For Relieving Insomnia Without Medication
Meds can be good for some things. And certainly some natural or herbal sleep products may help you get some rest. But prescription pills for sleeping arent always the best solution.
Unfortunately, some sleep medications can actually make the problem worse. Sleep aids frequently disrupt sleep cycles, causing less restorative sleep. Even if they help you sleep through the night, the sleep is not necessarily deep or restful. People can become dependent on these meds, requiring them to sleep, and many develop a tolerance to sleep meds over time, requiring more medication to get the same effect. These meds can also cause rebound insomnia, meaning it becomes even harder to fall asleep without the medication. So before you pop that pill for your sleep problems, try these methods instead:
1. Sleep Hygiene 2. Brief Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Intervention for Insomnia , which will be covered in part two of this series on insomnia.
Common Psychological And Medical Causes Of Insomnia
Sometimes, insomnia only lasts a few days and goes away on its own, especially when it is tied to an obviously temporary cause, such as stress over an upcoming presentation, a painful breakup, or jet lag. Other times, insomnia is stubbornly persistent. Chronic insomnia is usually tied to an underlying mental or physical issue.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia. Having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and;depression symptoms worse. Other common emotional and psychological causes include;anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Treating these underlying problems is essential to resolving your insomnia.
Medical problems or illness. Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, Parkinsons disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, and cancer. Chronic pain is also a common cause of insomnia.
Medications. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives. Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine , diuretics, and slimming pills.
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Drink Cherry Juice Instead
Cherry juice contains high amounts of melatonin, which helps in regulating the bodys sleep cycle. A small study in the American Journal of Therapeutics showed that participants aged 50 and above, who drank cherry juice twice a day for two weeks, significantly lessened their insomnia episodes. While further studies have yet to be undertaken to fully conclude cherry juice as an insomnia cure, the initial results of the pilot study showed promise.
Coping With Sleep Disturbances During Depression
Dealing with sleep disturbances when youre feeling depressed can seem like a vicious circle. The more depressed you feel, the harder it is to sleep. And the more exhausted you feel, the harder it is to fight depression.
It can feel like theres no way to break the cycle. And its frustrating to feel tired yet be unable to fall or stay asleep. Here’s what you should know about the relationship between sleep disturbances and depression.
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Getting Help For Sleep Woes
Most of the time, talking with your parent is all you need to do to handle a sleep problem. Your mom or dad can help you improve your bedtime routine and help you be patient while you develop new sleep habits.
But if a kid has really tough sleep problems, he or she might need extra help. That could mean talking to a counselor or psychologist about stress or sadness the kid is feeling.
If the kid’s not really worried about anything, he or she could have a sleep problem. In this case, the answer might be to see a doctor who’s a specialist in sleep. Some hospitals even have sleep labs, where patients come in and go to sleep so doctors can monitor their sleep and see what might be wrong.
How Cbd Works To Improve Sleep
Even studies that conclude that CBD can improve sleep arent always able to say whythis is the case. Most of the above-mentioned studies emphasize that we need more research on CBD before we fully understand how it affects our sleep.
However, as mentioned above, many researchers say that CBD improves sleep because it tackles the root causes of insomnia.
As more research is done on CBD, well learn more about why and how it can help us sleep.
There are a number of ways to take CBD. It comes in a few different forms, including:
- vape concentrates
- edibles, like gummies
Generally, vaping CBD gets it into your system faster than other forms. However, theres not much research on vaping CBD, and vaping in general may pose respiratory risks.
The dosage of CBD you use, and the time you take it, will depend on a number of factors. Your weight, personal body chemistry, and the nature of your sleeping troubles will affect how the CBD works. What works for some people might not work for others.
Most clinical trials on CBD and sleep have involved giving the subjects anywhere between 25 mg to 1,500 mg of CBD per day. Its best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it until you find something that works for you.
looked at multiple studies on the safety of CBD and concluded that its a relatively safe treatment.
Side effects are relatively uncommon. However, you may experience some minor side effects.
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Mind Your Circadian Rhythm
Going to bed and waking up the same time every day, even on the weekends, can help you get good sleep. Maintaining a sleep schedule helps your body have a consistent sleep-wake cycle. Over time, this will help you get to sleep quickly and get deep sleep throughout the night. Another way to optimize your sleep patterns is to get adequate sunlight as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Go outside without sun glasses and get 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure to tell your brain to wake up. Early morning sun exposure also increases the production of melatonin.
How To Deal With Insomnia: 11 Tips From The Experts
Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Do you find yourself lying awake at night struggling to fall asleep? Or, do you fall asleep easily but then wake up continually throughout the night? You may feel like no matter what you seem to do, you just cant get the rest that you need. You could be dealing with insomnia. It can be a frustrating situation and have a negative impact on other areas of your life. But the following tips can help you learn how to deal with insomnia and start feeling rested.
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Aromatherapy For A Sounder Sleep
“I put a few drops of lavenderessential oil on my pillow. It works for my 9-year-old son too. If he can’t fall asleep, he asks for lavender and within 5 minutes he’s out like a light.” Christine Genardi
Carolyn Harrington says: “Sniffing lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety and ease insomnia. In a recent study from Wesleyan University, those who sniffed lavender oil before bedtime slept more soundly than those who didn’t.”