Wilfred Pigeon Assistant Professor Of Psychiatry At The University Of Rochester
Define Behavioral Sleep Medicine
Behavioral Sleep Medicine is all about discarding a wayward lifestyle and adopting a disciplined, regimented daily life for coping with sleep disorders. Instead of popping pills, the insomniac tries to bring about a change in his or her thought processes in a gradual manner.
Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Sleep Hygiene-are they same?
Sleep Hygiene happens to be a small component of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and comprises of some golden rules that are instrumental in inducing sleep in people on a routine basis. For example, cutting down consumption of caffeinated beverages, especially coffee and tea, switching off the TV 1-2 hours before bedtime, and using the bedroom only for sleeping and having sex, helps one to sleep soundly at night.
Besides following the above healthy practices, abiding by the three fundamental tenets of BSM- stimulus control, altering cognitive misapprehensions about sleeping, and sleep restrictions-can help in dealing with insomnia.
How to Take Advantage of Stimulus Control?
Get into the habit of staying from activities that might rob you of your sleep like working on the desktop or laptop, watching TV or calling up family members and friends for an extended conversation. Also, use the bedroom only for sex and sleep. At the same time, do not overstay in bed if you cannot fall asleep within 15 minutes.
Will Stepping Out of Bed Lead to Increased Sleep Fragmentation?
Start With Dawn Today
Dawn is a safe, evidence-based program that employs CBT-I to restore your natural sleep ability. Dawn provides you with a tailored sleep plan, records your sleeping patterns, connects you with a sleep coach, and much more all in accordance with requirements by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Dietary Supplements For Insomnia
There are many dietary and herbal supplements marketed for their sleep-promoting effects. Although they may be described as natural, be aware that sleep remedies can still have side effects and interfere with other medications or vitamins youre taking. For more information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
When And How Should I Seek Sleep Treatment From A Sleep Specialist
Almost everyone has sleep problems at some point in their lives. If its a temporary sleep problem, you can find the reason behind it an argument with your spouse, problem at work, jet lag. Such problems are temporary and typically end in a couple days.
If you have been unable to sleep well for a month or more, its advisable to see a doctor. See if you match the common symptoms of insomnia mentioned above. If you do, its time to consult a sleep specialist.
Challenging The Worries And Thoughts That Fuel Insomnia
Its also helpful to challenge the negative attitudes about sleep and your insomnia problem that youve developed over time. The key is to recognize self-defeating thoughts and replace them with more realistic ones.
|Challenging self-defeating thoughts that fuel insomnia|
|Self-defeating thought:||Sleep-promoting comeback:|
|Unrealistic expectations: I should be able to sleep well every night like a normal person. I shouldnt have a problem!||Lots of people struggle with sleep from time to time. I will be able to sleep with the right techniques.|
|Exaggeration: Its the same every single night, another night of sleepless misery.||Not every night is the same. Some nights I do sleep better than others.|
|Catastrophizing: If I dont get some sleep, Ill tank my presentation and jeopardize my job.||I can get through the presentation even if Im tired. I can still rest and relax tonight, even if I cant sleep.|
|Hopelessness: Im never going to be able to sleep well. Its out of my control.||Insomnia can be cured. If I stop worrying so much and focus on positive solutions, I can beat it.|
|Fortune telling: Its going to take me at least an hour to get to sleep tonight. I just know it.||I dont know what will happen tonight. Maybe Ill get to sleep quickly if I use the strategies Ive learned.|
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Insomnia Cures That Dont Require Meds Or Supplements
If youre looking for insomnia cures that dont involve ingesting anything, thats understandable. Sleep meds can be expensive some are infamous for causing adverse reactions. And occasionally researchers produce a fairly scary study, like a 2012 survey that associated regular sleeping pill use with an increased risk of cancer and death.
The good news: Bazil estimates between 50 and 90 percent of the insomnia complaints hes seen in his practice can be improved without medication.
Your brain is designed to keep you up at night thats completely normal, he says. If we fell asleep when we were surrounded by tigers in the jungle 2,000 years ago, nobody would have survived.
But the things we face now are not tigers surrounding us. It could be, Ive got this meeting tomorrow morning, or my phone just went off and I want to read this email, or Im really engrossed in this television program and I really want to stay up and watch it.
All these things can start and perpetuate a pattern in which your brain thinks youre supposed to be awake. Medicines can be helpful but never completely solve the problem. The problem is youve got to teach your brain to shut off.
To that end, here are the strategies experts say are most effective.
Can Melatonin Help Me Sleep
Your body produces a hormone called melatonin that promotes sleep. Some people take melatonin supplements as a sleep aid. But theres no proof that these supplements work. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate supplements the same as medications, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking one.
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How Can I Prevent Insomnia
Lifestyle changes and improvements to your bedtime routine and bedroom setup can often help you sleep better:
- Avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed.
- Be physically active during the day, outside if possible.
- Cut back on caffeine, including coffee, sodas and chocolate, throughout the day and especially at night.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, including weekends.
- Put away smartphones, TVs, laptops or other screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Turn your bedroom into a dark, quiet, cool sanctuary.
- Unwind with soothing music, a good book or meditation.
I Fall Asleep At The Right Time But Wake Up Abnormally Early Should I Take Sleeping Pills In The Morning What Are Other Solutions
Waking up in the middle of the night can be due to old age, depression, or advanced sleep phase: where you sleep earlier than most people, so wake up earlier too. In some cases, cognitive behavioral therapy works best, while in others, medication is the most effective solution.
Even if you take medicines, take them before sleeping as a preventive measure and not when you wake up in the middle of the night. Talk to a certified sleep doctor to know whether you should take medication or not.
Finally A Cure For Insomnia
We are living through an epidemic of sleeplessness, but the medical establishment has largely ignored the problem. Can a radical new therapy help you get some sleep?
We live in a golden age of sleeplessness. The buzz of the all-night streetlamps, the natter of 24-hour news anchors, the scrolling Niagaras of social media feeds have built a world that is hostile to sleep. Night is no longer clearly delineated from day. The bedroom is no longer a refuge from the office. The physical and psychic walls that once held back the tides of work and social interaction have failed. As the essayist Jonathan Crary put it, sleeplessness is the inevitable symptom of an era in which we are encouraged to be both unceasing consumers and unceasing creators.
To the wakeful, insomnia can feel like the loneliest affliction in the world. But an estimated third of British adults suffer from chronic insomnia, defined as having adequate opportunity but inadequate ability to sleep, for a period of at least six months. Insomniacs dutifully set aside a seven-or-so-hour stretch for rest. They make the bed. They draw the curtains. But when ear kisses pillow, they are suddenly wakeful. Many have sought help. Between 1993 and 2007, the number of people in the UK who visited their doctor complaining of insomnia nearly doubled, while NHS data shows, in the past decade, a tenfold increase in the number of prescriptions written for melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
Dont Be A Hero: The Negative Effects Of Insomnia
Ever heard someone brag that he or she only needs six hours of sleep? While its admirable to try to put a positive spin on a negative situation, taking a heroic attitude toward sleeplessness can be bad for your health. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Getting insufficient sleep can:
- Cause fatigue, irritability, and excessive daytime sleepiness
- Cause weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight
- Weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick
- Cause elevated blood pressure and can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease
- Contribute to chronic pain
- Exacerbate mental illness, including depression and anxiety
- Reduce focus and concentration, leading to decreased performance at work
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When I Cant Sleep At Night I Watch Tv To Kill Time Is It Okay
If you cant fall asleep and are getting frustrated, get out of bed immediately. Staying in bed and forcing yourself to sleep will make it worse. Your brain will be conditioned to think that staying in bed makes you angry and frustrated.
To counter this, immediately get out of bed and do something non-stimulating. This may include taking a warm bath, listening to music, reading a relaxing novel . You can also watch T.V. but only if it is relaxing as opposed to stimulating.
Use An Online Program
If youre uncomfortable seeing a therapist in person or if money is an issue, there are online CBT-I programs that cover the same kind of material you would learn during a counseling session, only from the comfort of your home. They tend to be less expensive than in-person therapy and more flexible for busy schedules. The programs have the potential to help a lot of people because they increase access to care, Watson says.
Look for programs that were created or advised by doctors or psychologists, like SHUTi, which was created by experts at the University of Virginia, or Sleepio, which is advised by a panel of experts.
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The Ultimate Cure For Insomnia: Its Not What You Think
Insomnia is shockingly awful. There is nothing more upsetting than lying awake all night, trying to get healthy sleep, overthinking things, and stumbling out of bed in a foul funk when your alarm finally goes off. Having this sleep condition can make your daily life feel like a living hell and it can contribute to both physical and mental health problems.
But did you know that there is a perfectly easy, free, and successful cure right at your fingertips?
How To Perform Meditation For Sleep
So how do you go about this miracle cure for your insomnia? The best way to start is to establish a solid bedtime routine that never varies. Incorporate meditation into this routine. Once you turn the lights out and lie down comfortably, you can enter meditation. Do this every night for a swift, painless glide into deep sleep.
You can listen to a guided meditation designed for sleep if you desire. But the simplest meditation is one that you can perform by yourself. Lay in a comfortable position, and make sure that your environment is perfect for sleep. Set the thermostat the way that you want, use the sheets that feel delightful on your skin, and remove all distractions such as phones or TV. Now, lie very still and start to focus on your breathing. Feel your breath coming in through your nostrils and then out through your throat. Focus on this for a while, counting up to ten breaths.
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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Turn Off Your Screens
As Herculean as it may seem, avoid your phone, computer, and tablet an hour before bedtime.
Its important to set a shut-off time for technology to give the brain time to settle down before starting the bedtime routine, says Kennedy. When you run a marathon, you cant stop short. You have to slow down and cool down to allow your body to return to normal. The brain works the same way. She advises keeping phones, laptops and tablets out of the bedroom and buying an old-fashioned, WiFi-free alarm clock.
If you must have a phone in the bedroom, put it in a charger far away from the bed and do not check it if you wake up during the night, Kennedy adds.
Not using screens late at night or in the bedroom that combination helps most people, says Shukla. The most important thing to understand is that you need to prepare yourself to sleep.
Definition Of Chronic Insomnia
Although there are various definitions of chronic insomnia, the most widely accepted is the one that defines it to be a condition characterized by “inadequate quantity or quality of sleep characterized by a subjective report of difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation, or quality that occurs despite adequate opportunity for sleep, and that results in some form of daytime impairment and has persisted for at least one month”. The causes of this are many, the most important of which are medications, drug or alcohol abuse, psychiatric disorders like depression or anxiety, medical disorders , poor sleep hygiene, and other disorders like sleep apnea, periodic limb movements, conditioned insomnia , restless legs syndrome, circadian rhythm disorder or advanced/delayed sleep-phase syndrome. Neurological causes such as fibromyalgia and Morvan’s syndrome, medical causes such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, and in children, sleep-onset association disorder and limit-setting sleep disorder also need to be identified and addressed since these can commonly present as chronic insomnia.
When To See A Doctor
You should see a doctor if you are experiencing sleep problems or daytime sleepiness that interfere with your daily life. However, it is important to remember that while insomnia is very common, fatal insomnia is not.
Fatal insomnia presents similarly to many other disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimerâs disease. If you experience persistent insomnia symptoms accompanied by psychiatric, cognitive, or motor problems, make an appointment with your primary care physician to rule out other illnesses.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Insomnia
Insomnia occurs more often in women than in men. Pregnancy and hormonal shifts can disturb sleep. Other hormonal changes, such as premenstrual syndrome or menopause, can also can affect sleep. Insomnia becomes more common over the age of 60. Older people may be less likely to sleep soundly because of bodily changes related to aging and because they may have medical conditions or take medications that disturb sleep.
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Statistics On Insomnia Recovery
Currently, there are few statistics available on insomnia recovery. Many studies are small, which makes it difficult to make any strong conclusions about insomnia recovery. Nevertheless, a newer study conducted in 2018 recruited over 1,400 adults with insomnia and asked about their ability to recover. Statistics from this study include:
- 75% of individuals with acute insomnia were able to make a full recovery after about 12 months
- 22% of individuals still struggled with acute recurring insomnia
- 3% of individuals went on to develop chronic insomnia
It is common for most individuals to experience insomnia at least once in their lives. Very few will continually struggle with this condition, making insomnias prognosis quite positive overall.
Have you or a loved one struggled with primary or secondary insomnia and a co-occurring addiction? The Recovery Village can help. Contact a representative to discuss treatment options for co-occurring insomnia and addiction.
Sleep.org. Should I Visit a Sleep Clinic? Accessed July 22, 2019.
Pfizer. HALCION®. December 2016. Accessed July 11, 2019
United States Food and Drug Administration. SILENOR. March 17, 2010. Accessed July 11, 2019.
Treating Underlying Causes Of Insomnia
Sometimes insomnia is caused by another mental health or physical condition like anxiety or depression. This type of insomnia is referred to as secondary insomnia. In these cases, treating the underlying cause will often result in improvements in insomnia symptoms. For those with co-occurring anxiety or depression and insomnia, there are many treatment options that address both of these conditions. However, it is important to note that for some individuals, there is no identifiable cause of their insomnia.
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Types Of Chronic Insomnia
There are two main types of chronic insomnia: primary and secondary.
Primary insomnia isnt due to other medical conditions or medications and is poorly understood by scientists. Specialized MRI scans are being used to study this condition. Primary insomnia may be related to changes in levels of certain brain chemicals, but research is ongoing.
Secondary insomnia is caused by other conditions or situations. This means that its a symptom that goes along with some medical issues, such as emotional stress, trauma, and ongoing health problems certain lifestyle patterns or taking certain drugs and medications.
Chronic insomnia can cause symptoms at night as well as during the day and can interfere with your ability to go on with your daily tasks.
Symptoms may include: