Treating Insomnia: Behavioral Therapy
If good sleep hygiene doesn’t solve your sleeping problems, behavioral therapy may. Here is a quick summary of some techniques:
Relaxation training. Learn deep breathing, progressive muscular relaxation, or meditation. Relaxing your mind at bedtime will help you drift off to sleep.
Stimulus control therapy. Go to bed only when you are sleepy. Don’t read, watch TV, snack, or listen to music in bed. Get up at the same time every day, no matter how little you’ve slept. Avoid daytime napping.
Sleep restriction therapy. Reduce your time in bed to the estimated total time you actually sleep in an average night by going to bed later, but don’t go below five hours. Make the change by getting into bed later, not getting up earlier. Get up at the same time every day. Maintain the same bedtime every night for a week, and then move it 15 minutes earlier every week until you get a satisfying, refreshing amount of sleep. Then maintain the same schedule every day.
Cognitive therapy. Learn to replace negative thoughts about sleep with positive thoughts .
Use Separate Alarm Clocks
Having different schedules doesn’t mean you have to both get up to the same alarm. It may take a few weeks to adjust to hearing two alarms. My solution is to use two completely different sounding alarms. You’ll learn to tune out your partner’s and wake up to your own. Believe it or not, it really does help, especially if you’re the one who gets to sleep later.
Night Terrors Vs Nightmares
PTSD can also cause nightmares, but these are different from night terrors. When you have a nightmare, you usually wake up with vivid memories of it. After a night terror, you may have a flash of an image, but you generally will not remember the experience. You may not even wake up at all during the night terror.
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Ptsd And The Importance Of Therapy
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious mental illness triggered by experiences that are terrifying, life-threatening, or perceived as life-threatening. Potential causes of PTSD include being a victim of assault, witnessing violence, being in a terrible accident, or seeing combat in the military.
Not everyone develops PTSD after a traumatic experience, but those who do struggle with disruptive, frightening, and difficult symptoms including:
- Intrusive and scary memories
- Irritability and angry outbursts
- Difficulty concentrating
Because this mental illness is so disruptive to a normal, satisfying life, professional treatment is essential. Therapy is the foundation of treatment, which teaches patients to change their negative thoughts, cope with difficult memories, and relate better to other people. There are several types of therapy with a trauma focus that can be very helpful for managing and reducing symptoms.
Myth : Dont Go To Bed Angry
Weve all heard the sage advice, never go to bed angry. Its not quite that simple. As one researcher put it, the correct adage is not dont go to bed angry, but rather, dont fight before bed. In reality, many problems faced by couplesfinances, children, in-laws, etc., simply cannot be fixed in time for bed. And bedtime is seldom a great time to try, as the sleepier we become, the more our moods, our problem-solving and communication skills sufferall critical components of healthy conflict resolution. Rather than aiming to solve battles right before bedtime, choose your battles and their timing wisely. Try to table heavy discussions until you both are rested and have your wits about you.
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Are You Sleeping With A Snorer Learn Ways To Cope
It’s no surprise that sleeping with a snorer can make your own sleep quality suffer and it can also affect your health. Partners of snorers often experience fatigue and drowsiness on a regular basis, and they may even be at risk for some hearing loss.
Understanding what causes snoring may make you more empathetic towards your partner and our tips for sleeping with a snorer may help you get the sleep you need.
Silence Is The Golden Rule
Do you require noise from a TV or iTunes to fall asleep? Lots of people do, but if your partner prefers silence, then we have a problem. You should promise your partner that they can shut off the movie or music in 15-30 minutes as you will have likely fallen asleep by then . You can also shower your lover with noise-reducing gifts like earplugs . And, if you’re rolling in the benjamins, hit up Amazon for a pair of those hella pricey wireless headphones so you can listen to music for as long as you want without annoying your partner
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How Do You Deal With Compassion Fatigue
Sometimes you may find yourself losing empathy over your partner’s disability. Thats completely normal.
Tip 4.1: Know that its a constant struggle. Compassion fatigue cannot be completely fixed, it can only be managed.
Tip 4.2: Understand that compassion overload is bad for you. Apathy is a word with a very negative connotation, but actually apathy can be a tool our mind uses to protect itself from extreme stress. Imagine constantly being worried about survival every second of your life. Situational apathy is a tool we evolved for this very purpose.
Tip 4.3: Accept that this disorder is not your responsibility. The very fact that you are reading this is proof that you are a very caring partner. At the same time, you didnt cause this insomnia. You arent getting paid to fix it. Whatever you do to help should be appreciated, but it simply is not your responsibility.
Tip 4.4: Remember that if your partner cant enjoy some activity with you or doesnt want to go to some event, it’s not personal.
Tip 4.5: Learning, patience, listening, not always giving advice.
Tip 4.6: Meditation. I had a teacher at an outpatient facility program for depression at my hospital. We asked her how she seems to care so deeply about each of us and remember all of our stories. Her secret? Meditation. Meditation is a very resetting activity that is meant just for you.
Tip 4.9: Remind yourself what you love about the relationship even in the presence of insomnia.
Help Them Stay Hopeful
When you’re really being wrecked by insomnia, it’s easy to believe that things will never end. You feel so out of control and so helpless, it is very easy to become convinced that lying awake all night, fruitlessly trying to remember the lyrics to 98 Degrees’ “Give Me Just One Night ,” is going to be your lot in life forever. An easy, simple, and immensely helpful thing you can do for your partner is to gently remind them that it isn’t.
Ten to 15 percent of all adults struggle with chronic insomnia â remind your partner of this when they feel like the only person on earth who can’t sleep. Remind them that there are always new methods, medications, and techniques to try. Remind them that plenty of people suffer from insomnia and then come out the other side. And then…
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Meditation And Relaxation Techniques
A regular meditation practice may help to promote sleep by slowing breathing and reducing stress hormone levels. Meditation is a technique that involves consciously directing one’s attention to an object of focus in order to increase awareness, relax the body, and calm the mind.
Some types of meditation include guided meditation, vipassana meditation, yoga nidra, or body scan. Also try:
- Visualization: Visualization involves actively imagining a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed for 20 minutes before falling asleep. Involve all your senses. If you’re imagining yourself on a tropical island, think of the way the warm breeze feels against your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of the flowers, look at the water and listen to the waves. The more vivid the visualization and the more senses you involve, the more effective it will be.
- Relaxation response: This is a mind/body response that occurs after following specific instructions patterned closely after Transcendental Meditation.
- Mindfulness: This type of meditation essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present.
Early evidence suggests that meditation techniques may improve sleep. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says relaxation techniques have enough evidence to say they can be helpful for insomnia. But further research is still needed.
Agree To Support Them In Healthy Sleep Behaviors
The only way your insomniac partner can find out if exercise or another sleep hygiene technique will help them out is to try it â and since insomnia can make trying new things difficult , they could use a cheerleader â or better yet, a partner â in establishing healthy sleep behaviors.
Yes, it can be a drag to agree to the arcane restrictions of sleep hygiene â like only using the bed for sleep, or staying away from booze before bed â when you yourself have no trouble sleeping. But if you can bear it, try to join your boo in these activities. Insomnia can be socially isolating because you have to approach sleep differently than everyone else you know â i.e. you’re the only one of your friends who has to say no to an after-work movie, because you have to be home at 8 to get in bed by 10 to try to be asleep by midnight. This can end up driving wedges between the insomniac and a lot of the people close to them … which, in turn, can create more anxiety, which can lead to more persistent insomnia. So, if you can bear it, tag along with your lovah while they do dorky sleep hygiene things like journaling or meditation. If you can’t offer an insomniac sleep, offering to help them feel less alone is the next best thing.
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Things You Can Do When You Cant Sleep Next To Someone
The following guide will take you through our top ten tips to help you fall asleep next to your partner. So if youre the kind of person who thinks I cant share a bed with anyone, read on. You might end up thinking again!
Get a Larger Bed
This may seem like the most obvious solution, but often the most straightforward answer is the best. More space really can make a world of difference. A lot of people find it hard to sleep next to someone because they feel squashed or claustrophobic.
When someone elses arms, legs, and hair are all encroaching on your space, it can be pretty tricky to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Sound familiar?
Most standard double beds are relatively small and dont offer each person that much space to sleep in. Sounds strange, right?
Well, in fact, double beds only provide an additional 16 inches of space than a twin bed. Thats not much more space for a whole extra person.
If you have the bedroom space and the money, it may be worth thinking about upgrading to a queen or king-size bed. Queen beds offer another six inches of space, whereas king-size beds are double the width of a single bed.
This means that each person gets plenty of room while still being able to sleep together. If one or both of you are tall, it may also be worth thinking about a California king. Theyre not quite as wide as a king bed, but they offer more vertical space.
Use Two Separate Blankets
White Noise Machine
A Bedroom Of Ones Own
After several fights in which my partner accused me of snoring to which I replied that the activity I was engaged in was more properly known as breathing, and I had no plans to stop it became clear we needed a radical solution. So I finally packed up my pillows and started sleeping in the guest room.
I was sad to go, but immediately, both my sleeping and waking life improved immeasurably. Its been about a year since I decamped across the hall, and guess what? The sleepless nights are now mostly a thing of the past, and our bedroom times are full of ease. Rather than worrying about the moment we turn off the light, we actually sleep.
Theres a bit of a stigma around couples who dont share a bed, since it seems to evoke loveless relationships, and can be embarrassing to admit to. Ive felt that embarrassment, and sometimes when Im giving guests a tour of the house, I refer to the second bedroom as the guest room, because its easier than calling it the room where I sleep because I breathe too loudly for my girlfriend and if I hadnt left she probably would have smothered me with a pillow.
But for the most part, Ive stopped thinking of our sleeping arrangement as a defeat, and started accepting it as a solution. For us, sharing a bed and sharing a life are mutually exclusive propositions, and in an otherwise idyllic relationship, thats an easy tradeoff to make.
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Remind Them You Love Them
Because they might not be feeling like their best self, remind them that you’re not going anywhere. When you’re chronically underslept, you often feel like a total beast, someone that no one would want to love, cherish, or watch Gilmore Girls with. Being forthright about your commitment can be a tremendous source of hope, too.
Keep Your Partner From Sleeping On Their Back
You’re more likely to snore if you sleep on your back because the tongue relaxes, impeding the airway. Finding ways to keep your partner sleeping on their side may help decrease snoring. Prop a pillow behind their back or incorporate some kind of nudge into their nightclothes to keep them from rolling onto their back .
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Buy An Adjustable Base To Reduce Snoring
If youre at your wits end not knowing how to sleep through a snoring partner, youre not alone. Snoring is one of the biggest complaints that couples have when it comes to getting a good nights sleep. If youve tried earplugs, having your partner roll over on his side, and everything else you can think of, you might want to consider an adjustable base.
Being able to raise the head of the bed can reduce snoring greatly because it allows the airway to stay open, reducing that vibrating sound that snoring makes when the airway flap closes over the throat. If you have any back pain or digestion problems, an adjustable base can help relieve those symptoms as well. Less snoring for him, more comfort for you its a win-win!
How Is Insomnia Diagnosed
There is no specific test to diagnose insomnia. Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions to learn more about your sleep problems and symptoms. The key information for the diagnosis of insomnia is reviewing your sleep history with your doctor. Your provider will also review your medical history and medications you are taking to see if they may be affecting your ability to sleep. You may also:
- Get a blood test: Your doctor may want you do a blood test to rule out certain medical conditions such as thyroid problems or low iron levels that can negatively impact sleep.
- Keep a sleep diary: You may be asked to write down your sleep patterns for one to two weeks This information can help your provider identify patterns or behaviors that interfere with rest.
- Complete a sleep study:Sleep studies are not necessary for diagnosing insomnia. If your doctor has concerns that your insomnia may be caused by sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you may be referred. You may go to a sleep disorders center or do the study at home.
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Myth : Separate Beds Are A Sign Of A Bad Marriage
This myth is so common, it even comes with a super judge-y name, sleep divorce, that perpetuates the idea that sleeping apart means your relationship is on the rocks. While sleeping together offers comfort and connection for some, for others its a source of frustration and contempt. Ultimately, the quality of your relationship depends more on how you come to decisions as a couple, and how well you both are sleeping, than your sleeping arrangement itself. Couples, like Elyse and Larry, that make conscious and collaborative decisions about their sleeping arrangements, whether together or apart, are perfectly capable of maintaining intimacy and highly satisfying relationships.
What Can You Do To Help Your Partner
Tip 1.1: Educate yourself on the mechanisms behind insomnia. Its important to know what your partner is going through. For example, you might be frustrated looking for your socks in the dark, but turning on the light for even a few minutes can make it very difficult for an insomniac to sleep. Understanding the mechanisms behind insomnia can help you understand the sacrifices insomniacs need to make.
To learn more about the mechanisms of insomnia, read my other guide: Evans Big Insomnia Guide.
Tip 1.2: Be a part of your partners sleep routine. Insomniacs who are trying to manage the disorder will have a nightly routine. In Evans Big Insomnia Guide, Tip 4.3 is Have a relaxing and enjoyable night time ritual. Being in a good mood really helps fight insomnia. My girlfriend and I will talk, listen to podcasts or music, brush our teeth, shower, read and more all in darkness. It feels much more fruitful to share these activities and it always puts me in a better mood before bed.
Tip 1.3: Remember that everyones experience is different. If you havent truly had insomnia, its very easy to believe that we are being overly sensitive. You may be fine on 7 hours of sleep. You may be fine with tea before bed. You may be fine with some light or a warm room at night. But for us, it can be torture.
Tip 1.4: When your partner is sleeping, be careful with sound and movement. For insomniacs, It can be extremely hard to go back to sleep when woken up.
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