Re-build Your Relationship with Sleep
Thanks for completing the SleepHubs Check-Up. Your answers indicate that you may be experiencing insomnia, and it is recommended you take action to start improving your sleep.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is an inability to sleep in spite of the opportunity and circumstances for sleep leading to negative daytime consequences, such as difficulty in concentrating. It could be that you find it difficult to fall asleep, fail to stay asleep or wake too early. Anyone can have a bad night, or a spell of poor sleep, but with insomnia, the individual has poor sleep on several nights a week over the course of months.
There are 3 types of insomnia and it is possible to suffer from a combination of them.
This is where there is a difficulty in falling asleep, regularly taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep on the majority of nights. On average most people take less than twenty minutes to fall asleep after turning the light off.
This is where there is a problem staying asleep and you repeatedly wake up during the night. It is normal to wake momentarily numerous times during sleep to check that all is right with the world, but these awakenings are very short, and we do not remember them. Someone with sleep-maintenance insomnia wakes during the night but then finds it difficult to get back to sleep. Stress or anxiety is a common cause of sleep-maintenance insomnia, but medical factors could be involved, such as pain or repeatedly needing to use the toilet during the night (nocturia). It may be that the physical factor wakes you, but worry, or thinking too much, then keeps you awake
Early morning waking
This is where you wake earlier in the morning than you wish and cannot then fall back to sleep. This type of insomnia is often linked to depression but may also be related to the changes in circadian rhythm that occur as a result of being a shift-worker, or naturally as we get older: it can be more of a problem in summer when the sun rises early.
What are the consequences of untreated insomnia?
Mental health problems, including but not limited to stress, anxiety and depression, are also linked to disturbed sleep. Beliefs about sleep, and the effects of a lack of it, can cause anxiety and exacerbate sleep problems. Poor sleep is also associated with problems with physical health. People with insomnia also complain of lack of energy or difficulties in concentration, for example.
What treatment options are there?
Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been proven to be successful in treating insomnia. In contrast to sleeping tablets, the benefits of CBT-I have been found to persist beyond the end of treatment. It targets the inappropriate thought processes and behaviours that can lead to sleep problems, or perpetuate them.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia? (CBT-i)
Several techniques come under the umbrella of CBT for insomnia. Are you are interested in understanding the CBT principles and how they work? Then before deciding if Insomnia treatment is right for you, please find an overview of each technique below.
Stimulus Control Therapy
Stimulus Control Therapy aims to create a strong association between the bed and sleep. Its basic principles are; only go to bed when you are tired, limit the activities in bed to sleep and sex only, get out of bed at the same time every morning and if you cannot fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until you feel tired again.
Sleep Restriction Therapy
Sleep restriction therapy aims to restore the natural drive to sleep by restricting your time in bed (TIB). This technique helps to ensure you are spending time in bed efficiently, by spending less time lying awake. This is often the trickiest part of CBT-i as it may seem counterproductive to limit your time in bed, but it has been proven to be effective when followed as per a sleep coach’s guidance.
Each week, your sleep coach will guide you through your personalised sleep restriction therapy, using your sleep efficiency score to advise how long you should spend in bed each night. The aim is to increase your time spent in bed each time your sleep efficiency reaches 90% or higher.
Sleep hygiene refers to a basic set of ‘rules’ designed to control the environment and behaviours that precede sleep. These rules usually involve bedtime routines, diet and exercise, which are all pivotal to our well-being.
This is designed to decrease the anxiety and arousal associated with insomnia, through targeting any dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes you may have about sleep. Do any of the following sound like you? If so, Cognitive Therapy could help you to transform your relationship with sleep;
- “I cannot function without a good night’s sleep,”
- “I’m worried that I will never get a good night’s sleep”,
- “I need 8 hours of sleep to feel at my best”,
- “I can only sleep if I take a sleeping pill”
- “Insomnia is just part of growing older”.
Relaxation therapy aims to help you relax before bedtime and helps you fall asleep. Various techniques used by therapists include hypnosis, guided imagery and meditation to define insomnia. Essentially anything that helps you wind down and relax at the end of the day will help. However, relaxation therapy on its own is not considered sufficient treatment for insomnia.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Insomnia.
Recommended as the #1 treatment for Insomnia by NICE
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting as many as 16 million adults in the UK.
The SleepHubs CBT-i programme is drug-free and clinically proven to combat insomnia. The expert guided treatment is all completed online and can help you to fall asleep faster, sleep for longer and wake up less frequently in the night.
Your dedicated sleep therapist will guide and support you throughout the programme.
To find out more and meet programme creator and psychologist, Dr. Erla Björnsdóttir, please watch the video.