Having difficulty sleeping? It’s not uncommon.
Once you cannot sleep well Worse still, Insomnia does not tend to go away on its own without appropriate treatment. This is because once people start to sleep poorly, they tend to develop ways of thinking and behaving around sleep that make their problems worse over the long run.
Psychologists often use a method called CBTI. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I or CBTI) is a short, structured, and evidence-based approach to combating the frustrating symptoms of insomnia.
Research shows that CBT-I consistently reduces the time taken to get to sleep, decreases the amount of time spent awake during the night, and improves sleep quality and efficiency, with improvements persisting after treatment finishes. This is unlike sleeping pills, which typically lead to sleep difficulties coming back once people with insomnia stop taking them.
Damon Ashworth describes this in more detail in his blog.
Learning about positive sleep habits is a core part of CBT-I. Tailoring recommendations is best done with the help of a doctor or CBT-I provider. In the meantime, here are some basic tenets of sleep hygiene that anyone coping with sleep issues may find helpful.
- Maintain a sleep schedule: Having a regular, predictable sleep schedule can help your body maintain a rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep. This includes weekends too, which are a common time to forget about the importance of sleep.
- Don’t lie awake in bed: If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and find something relaxing to do until you feel tired again.
- Create a nightly routine: Give yourself enough time to get ready for bed. Turn off your electronics early and find some relaxing activities that help you wind down before sleep.
- Consider daytime activities: What you do during the day really counts. Even a small amount of exercise can help you sleep better. Also try to avoid eating, alcohol, and caffeine too close to bedtime.