I wrote so much about sleep in my previous post that I decided to divide it into two different blog posts.
In my previous post I talked about sleep hygiene and gave you 8 points to consider. https://trilliumbodywork.com/self-care-for-chronic-depletion-sleep/ Here I will briefly go over medical conditions, anxiety around sleep, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for sleep.
Do you have a medical condition which is keeping you awake? If you are being kept awake at night from pain, inflammation, breathing problems, or other medical conditions, it is important to see your medical professional to address these issues. No amount of sleep hygiene is going to do much if there is an underlying medical cause. Here are just a few medical conditions to take into consideration which might be affecting your sleep:
- Nasal/sinus allergies
- Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux
- Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic pain
- Low back pain
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep apnea
Sometimes a sleep study through your local medical institution might be necessary to delve deeper into what is going on with you. A sleep study is much more accurate because, than consumer products that measure sleep. Sleep studies measure brain activity while fancy rings and wrist bands measure body temperature, movement, and blood volume but won’t have the same level of accuracy.
ANXIETY AROUND SLEEP
The anxiety around poor sleep is a huge part of perpetuating insomnia. I also found this to be the case for myself. I tried so many things to get better sleep and in the end, I’ve found that relaxation techniques have been the most effective. According to sleep Doctor Chris Winter, sleep hygiene is 20% of insomnia and the performance anxiety around sleep is about 80%. Once I found that out, I started a mindfulness meditation practice and it has helped me stop fretting so much about sleep. I have not read his book but I enjoyed his outlook as a sleep doctor on this podcast:
He had a more balanced approach towards life and getting good sleep. At times I have listened to interviews or read articles from authors that really went on about the dangers of not getting enough sleep. You know what those sources did for me? THEY MADE ME WORRY MORE ABOUT SLEEP!!!! While it is important to find out what sleep does for us, if you are trying to get more sleep, please don’t read more articles about how you will shrivel up and die if you have poor sleep. Just don’t.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR INSOMNIA
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? “CBT focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems.” source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy
So in regards to sleep, it can help you put in perspective the actual amount of hours you are sleeping, what effects it is having on you, and address your fears and anxiety around sleep.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is highly recommended by the American College of Physicians as an effective tool for insomnia.https://www.acponline.org/acp-newsroom/acp-recommends-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-as-initial-treatment-for-chronic-insomnia
While it might be difficult to find a local therapist, there are books and online programs. I’ve only used books but here are online programs you can buy:
While this book is a little out of date and there could be a better layout, I found the cognitive behavioral therapy approach very helpful and he also doesn’t go on and on about how horrible it is to not get sleep.
In conclusion, not sleeping well can have huge impacts on how well our bodies heal, especially when we are in a depleted state. Getting better sleep will involve changing habits that might be deeply seated. While sleeping pills can provide some much needed relief, long term usage is not generally recommended. Finding a drug free solution will provide you with more restorative sleep in the long run.