In my last post, I discussed the way chronic insomnia is diagnosed as well as some of the failed strategies some people try to overcome it. As I mentioned before, many untreated medical and psychological disorders can cause chronic insomnia, so you must discuss your sleep with your primary clinician before initiating any type of treatment. Then, when considering what to do about your chronic insomnia, consider the components of cognitive/behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), the “gold standard” treatment for chronic insomnia:
1) Sleep Hygiene – good sleep habits (e.g., reduce caffeine and alcohol)
2) Stimulus Control – strengthen association between bed and sleep
3) Sleep Restriction – minimize time spent in bed awake
4) Relaxation – physical and mental
5) Cognitive Restructuring – address expectations, misperceptions and attitudes about sleep
Of these CBT-I components, stimulus control (SC) is considered the most effective, and interestingly SC is arguably the most active component. SC is a bit of sleep bootcamp – it takes some “doing”. How?
First, start by only being in bed when sleepy or asleep. Then:
1) leave the bed if alert, even if you were sleepy moments ago
2) do something quiet in low light (e.g., read, hobby, etc.)
3) only return to bed when sleepy again
4) repeat 1-3 as needed all night
5) get up at the same time every morning
SC can be challenging. We are usually on our own, dealing with nighttime alertness by ourselves while our bed partner snoozes away. We are instructed to leave the bed, probably the most comfortable spot in the entire house. It can be cold and dark. We are tempted to think, “No one will know if I just stay here under my covers, maybe turn on the TV…”
SleepQ app to the rescue! The SleepQ app will offer at-home intensive sleep retraining (ISR). And ISR is essentially SC, repeated in a controlled, efficient manner. The SleepQ app will be powerful, fast-acting, convenient, affordable, and non-drug. It can be used at home on those afternoon/evenings following a rough night of sleep, when confidence in sleep is low but natural sleepiness is high, and the thought of another round of sleeping pills just doesn’t sound appealing.
Then enjoy a peaceful night of worry-free, deep, restorative sleep…right on Q!
What do you say…who’s in?