Some folks may find it challenging to fall asleep. Some individuals have no difficulty falling asleep, but struggle to stay asleep during the night. These are both symptoms of insomnia, a common sleeping issue that affects around one-third of the population in the United States.
Not only is being unable to sleep a miserable feeling, but it may also have serious negative health implications. Insufficient sleep has been linked to several health issues, including headaches, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and dementia. Driving when fatigued is comparable to driving under the influence of alcohol and is one of the leading causes of accidents.
Even while over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids may be beneficial, they often have unpleasant side effects such as morning drowsiness and reduced concentration the next day. Despite being intended for transitory use, some over-the-counter and prescription medications may lead to addiction.
How to Have a More Restful Night’s Sleep
CBT-I, or cognitive-behavioral treatment for insomnia, may help you train your body how to sleep better without the need of medication. The cognitive component of CBT-I involves analyzing your present sleep-related thoughts, while the behavioral component examines your current sleep-related behaviors (the behavioral part). Negative ideas about sleep may exacerbate the problem significantly. For example, if you spend the day dreading the thought of yet another sleepless night, you are less likely to sleep well at night. The behavioral component focuses on altering problematic sleep patterns and establishing new, restorative sleep patterns. Although certification in Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM) is not required to provide CBT-I treatment, the majority of practitioners are psychologists or behavioral health professionals.
The first stage in CBT-I is often maintaining a “sleep journal,” which documents how well (or badly) you sleep each night, as well as what you do before bed, what time you go to bed and get up, how you feel, and other information that may be useful for detecting harmful thoughts or behaviors. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a sort of cognitive-behavioral therapy used to treat insomnia. Following a week or two of monitoring, your therapist will review your progress with you, concentrating on issue areas identified over the course of treatment.
Your CBT-I will prescribe at least one of the following approaches depending on the cognitive and behavioral issues you are experiencing; however, many people combine several techniques for optimal results.
Relaxation training teaches you to quiet the “noise” in your thoughts and prepare your body and mind for sleep or other restorative states. Popular methods of relaxing include taking a warm bath, listening to peaceful music, practicing deep breathing, and using an app that takes you through meditation or relaxation. Experiment until you find the techniques that work best for you, since the most successful approaches are the ones that work for you. Additionally, it is advisable to avoid potentially stressful activities, such as watching the news or reading work emails, in the hours leading up to bedtime.
The objective of stimulus control therapy is to teach patients how to exert control over environmental elements that may function as positive or negative sleep signals. One of the most common pieces of advice is to reserve your bed just for sleeping and sexual activities. It is essential to avoid indulging in sleep-disrupting activities, such as watching television or surfing the Internet in bed or in the bedroom. Create a “bedtime routine” for yourself, which might involve reading a book, meditating, or any other activity that signals to your body that it is time to sleep. Aim to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day. Get out of bed and go to a different room if you are having problems falling asleep or staying asleep in bed. This prevents you from associating the bed with the experience of being unable to sleep.
Sleep hygiene comprises being conscious of the ways in which your everyday activities might affect the quality of your sleep. Eating coffee after noon, working till evening, engaging in strenuous exercise too close to bedtime, and consuming alcohol may all interfere with falling or staying asleep. Melatonin is a hormone that helps individuals go asleep and remain asleep. The blue light emitted by electronic gadgets such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones may impede melatonin production. If available, utilize the “night” mode or the blue light filter to limit the amount of light your electronic device produces before sleep.
Creating a more favorable sleeping environment is one of the strategies for enhancing sleep quality. Common methods include keeping your bedroom cool and dark, eliminating noise (if necessary, wear earplugs), charging your phone in another room, and concealing the clock.
When falling or staying asleep is difficult, it may seem paradoxical to concentrate on remaining awake rather than falling asleep. It’s probable that you’ll be able to relax more and have an easier time going asleep if you refrain from thinking about whether or not you’ll be able to sleep. Therefore, make an effort to avoid being anxious about it.