The 7 Techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Sleep
What are you doing about your sleep problem? Are you in denial and consider it a blessing in disguise or taking pills daily for it? Have you ever thought of a more effective way to handle it for good? Cognitive Behavioral therapy is the answer.
So you think you can fight sleep and win the battle by being the most productive person alive, right? Wrong. Sleep has been in existence since the beginning of time. You find it when you are born, more like your breath and swing with the flow. It is only when you grow up that you start fighting it directly or indirectly.
Well, you could say that your reasons justify your bad sleeping habits. Even if it is daily life hustles like paying bills and achieving your dreams. Truth is, you can never beat time. So you might need to slow down and you will be surprised how much more you achieve with sleep than without.
What do I need sleep for? You could be wondering; especially if you feel like the number of hours you have is not enough for you to live your life.If you are to be healthy physically, mentally and emotionally, you must have a good quality sleep. It increases your energy levels, makes you more alert improves your immune system, and improves your social life and your productivity.
If you have been finding it hard to fall asleep, to stay asleep or feel sleepy the whole day, you might need to seek professional help. If you wake up at night and you find it hard to go back to sleep or find yourself turning and tossing them all night, you don’t want to wait until you start experiencing the bad effects of insomnia to have it addressed.
If you have been avoiding sleeping pills for the fear of getting hooked and becoming a junkie, there is a better way; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. What? It is not as complicated as it sounds. It might take some time but it provides a long-term solution to your sleep problems than pills.
It is a more human approach where you get professional help from a therapist. Yes, sleep can be that serious. It is not only alcoholics and depressed people who go to see a therapist; even insomniacs do. If you care about your sleep, you should be thinking about it. It could go on for six to eight weeks where you get counseling and practical tips that help you restore a balanced sleep life.
Isn’t that hard? It could be. You might have to adjust your habits and thoughts, but you won’t do it alone. You will have a trainer to help you through the process and monitor your progress. That is the good thing about working with a specialist. You like it already, right? Here is how it works:
- Relaxation training and Biofeedback
The racing mind is a common sleep culprit. You go to bed and your mind forgets to switch on sleep mode. It keeps going back and forth on the plans and unfinished tasks. The tension and anxiety from life stresses can’t seem to leave your mind. What do you do? You start stressing about not falling asleep and end up getting out of bed to catch a movie or to pop some pills.
Hold up right there. Cognitive behavioral therapy can handle that through relaxation training and biofeedback. Your therapist will help you quiet your mind by teaching you how to control your muscles, breathing techniques, and mental focusing. By focusing on your breath or muscles and taking your thoughts away from your disturbing thoughts, you will be able to relax and fall asleep easily.
Is that all? No, biofeedback is another way. A device is attached to you to find out if the habits are working or not. This is how you know if it works. This is for those who are low in faith. Apparently, sleep is not just an eye and body affair; it is related to your heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, muscle tension and brain waves. This device gauges and records this information including visual images and sounds. This way you can adjust accordingly because you will have a clear picture of the factors and habits that affect your sleep. Your therapist will also use this information to find a customized solution for you.
- Stimulus control therapy
Do you go to bed with intention of going to your favorite destinations in your dreams only to turn and toss the whole night? The stimulus control therapy is a cognitive behavior therapy technique that will help you get quality sleep. There are those factors that make you resist sleep and they don’t stop when you get to bed, they drag on for long.
Do you hate going to bed because it takes you time to fall asleep? You will find yourself stressing about it to the point where your mind will start viewing your bed as a bad place; a place of struggle and pain. You will be trained to use your bed only for the right reasons to develop a correct mental attitude.
Your bed will only be for sleep and sex. Not for watching movies, visiting social media or finishing some work you took home from the office. You will also be coached to only go to bed when you are very sleepy and to set a consistent bedtime. This will condition you to only use your bed when you really need it and your perception will change.
What does your reaction have anything to do with sleep? When you love your bed and your mind sees it as a safe and resting place, you will sleep easily.
- Sleep Restriction
Do you feel more tired in the morning or the next night? It is because you take more time trying to fall asleep hence reducing the time you spend having quality sleep.
This technique works by reducing the average amount of time you spend in bed. This makes you more tired through sleep deprivation and helps you fall asleep faster the next night. This will go on until your sleep improves and the time will be increased gradually. You will end up have quality sleep.
- Sleep hygiene Training
Remember those bad habits that you know affect your sleep but you can’t shake them off? This technique will help you with that. You will develop good sleeping patterns and change lifestyle habits to suit a favorable sleep.
Think of habits like taking caffeine late in the day, smoking, taking alcohol, taking long naps during the habits, lack of regular exercise or simply watching TV from your bedroom. You will also be taught how to relax some hours before bed. Result? Your sleep will be sanitized.
- Cognitive Control and Psychotherapy
Relax, psychotherapy doesn’t mean that you are going insane. Far from it; this technique will help you deal with feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that affect your sleep. If you worry too much and take that to bed, you will be given tips about it.
For instance, you could be trained to set aside ‘me time’ every day to deal with your worries. It will help you to be more organized by reviewing your day and planning for the next day. It is all about cutting the elephant into pieces instead of eating it as a whole.
Ever tried visualizations and imagery? Have you ever been hypnotized? Turns out the Japanese discovered this way before we could. Through guided imagery, you could be led to see yourself in a story, to tap on every feeling and imagine it to be real. This will take your mind off your worries and focus on what seems to be real. You will then stop trying to fall asleep and drift away into it without knowing. Sound easy, right?
- Sleep environment improvement
This might sound obvious but many people overlook this need. That is why sometimes it takes the hand of a therapist to get it right. You will be guided on simple things such as keeping your bedroom dark, not having a TV or laptop in there, keeping a clock out of view, having comfortable and soothing beddings, ensuring your bedroom is quiet, clean and smells nice.
With all the many things to worry about, you might need to be reminded of these simple things by somebody who cares about your sleep.
- Paradoxical intention
Have you ever realized that worrying about something constantly only worsens it? Same goes for sleep. When you have worries about not being able to sleep, your mind processes that as a need that should be addressed urgently. The processing will keep you awake. Why cognitive behavioral therapy? You will be coached to remain passively awake by avoiding efforts to fall asleep.
The best approach to dealing with any problem is to handle the underlying cause. This is what cognitive behavioral therapy is all about. The trained therapists will help you fall asleep naturally by helping you attain a more predictable sleep pattern through eliminating the root of insomnia.
If you don’t want the stress of depending on pills, then this is your perfect choice. Sometimes your sleep problem might not even respond to pills and you will be left dealing with the side effects instead. It might take time, effort and discipline but cognitive behavioral therapy will give you a break from insomnia for longer. Stop addressing symptoms and get to the bottom of it. It’s how you take charge.