In the works!
Since moving my private practice to the Bay Area, in the last couple of years, I have treated exponentially more cases of insomnia than in my previous 10+ years as a therapist in Portland, OR. Too much sun? Too much stress? In this blog post, I'd like to give you a few pointers to tackle your sleep problems. Always consult with your medical practitioners before embarking on a new program. My content is based on books and articles from sleep experts in the field and the successes with patients I've seen in my practice.
Firstly, I'd like to impress upon you the importance of getting a sleep study immediately if you or your bed partner has even an inkling of a suspicion that you may have sleep apnea. Usually snoring is a strong indication (but not always) that you could have obstructed breathing which could lead to heart and brain damage over time. Some report having received a diagnosis of sleep apnea with no audible evidence of snoring. So get checked out if you find you are not feeling refreshed morning after morning or that you could easily go back to sleep an hour after rising.
Secondly, the gold standard treatment for insomnia is considered to be CBTi. This treatment involves changing your behaviors and your thoughts to increase your sleep efficiency including journaling, logging sleep events, adjusting your sleep schedule, and examining your thought processes. The program takes about 6-8 weeks. Unlike sleeping pills, it has no side effects (like rebound insomnia) and the benefits of CBTi last well past the time you stop working with your therapist.
In the meantime, you can try these methods:
1- Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine (tall order, but you're worth it).
2- Remove all electronic devices including TV from the bedroom.
3- Cool off your thermostat.
4- Install blackout shades.
5- Set regular wake-up times and bedtimes including on weekends.
6- Do not nap.
7- Establish a relaxing wind-down pre- bedtime routine (lavender salts hot bath anyone?).
8- If you can't sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you're sleepy again.
9- Get any amount of sunlight exposure in the mornings.
10- No clock-watching!
--Madeleine Burkhart, LMFT, Inspired Mind Counseling
Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep by Colleen Carney
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
The Sleep Solution by Chris Winter
Good Night Insomnia by Gregg Jacobs
The Sleep Manual by Wilfred Pigeon