Many people suffer from sleep problems. In our hectic lives, it is hard enough to find time to sleep. It is very frustrating to lie in bed not sleeping and worrying about how we are going to cope without the sleep.
Although most people have an occasional night when they don’t get as good sleep as they want, for some it becomes more nights than not. As sleep deprivation continues, it becomes increasingly difficult to function during the day. People start to compensate by taking naps during the day or falling asleep in front of the TV, both of which can make sleep problems worse. They start to worry about whether they will be able to sleep tonight and frequently turn to prescription sleep aids as a quick solution.
Therapy takes a two-pronged approach. The first is to look at the behaviors around sleep. This is known as sleep hygiene and there are some basic steps people can take to improve their ability to sleep. These steps include making sure you have scheduled enough time to sleep, knowing what to eat or drink and what not to eat or drink, moving exercise time earlier in the day, and eliminating naps. The other part of treatment focuses on what is keeping you awake. For most, this is some type of worry. We work on finding ways to deal with the worry outside of sleep time. When people consistently implement these changes for a couple of weeks, they usually find their sleep greatly improved, and without the use of medications.
Here’s a link to a fun BBC broadcast on how to wake up in the morning. Enjoy.