For most people sleep is not a complex matter by any means. It is not something that would even be given a moment’s thought. This is mainly because it occurs so naturally. The struggle in which case would be with getting up. However, there are a lot of people that struggle to get sleep.
Issues that hinder our ability to get to sleep are known as sleep disorders. They go against the natural order of things. Which is that we habitually fall asleep when we are tired or at the end of the day out of.
A survey carried out in the UK found that at least one in three people are suffering from a sleep disorder. We often hear of these disorders referred to under the blanket term, insomnia. The American Sleep Association reported that between 50-70 million people had some form of sleep disorder.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a combination of cognition and behavior studies. Cognition is the way that you process things in your mind. It covers things such as perception, discernment, awareness and apprehension. The behavioral side of things examines the actions that result from our cognition. So what does all of this have to do with sleep?
How Does it Help Improve Sleep
It goes without saying that the mind is certainly a key player in the quality of sleep that one has. The cognition part of CBT helps you to pinpoint some of the things that your mind is currently processing that may be hindering your sleep.
CBT involves speaking with a trained therapist about your day to day activities. It is through these conversations that they can help you identify things that are putting a strain on your rest. The good part is that it does not end there. The therapist also assists you with a practical course of action that is designed to alleviate these symptoms.
Although most of us may not be conscious of them. There are various triggers that we come across throughout each day. It is these triggers that would, in turn, influence our feelings and behavioral patterns. In this case, these feelings and behavioral patterns begin to spill into our bedroom.
Being able to identify these triggers helps us make deliberate decisions about how we feel about them. In doing so, we take more control. Take an example of someone who may find that they are happy all day until they get into bed to sleep. After some CBT sessions, they may be able to find that these feelings start when they look at their calendar or planner for the next. They struggle to sleep due to the sheer number of things that they are anticipating.
Making a small change such as moving the planning sessions to the morning may result in immediate improvements in their quality of sleep. This, of course, will differ from one individual to the next one. CBT requires that one be mindful of each day. The use of a journal can be one way to do so.
Other Tips to Improve Sleep
The good news is that CBT is not the only solution for those who are looking to reclaim their restful nights without having to medicate. We have some simple yet effective ways that you can adopt immediately. Some of these are fairly straightforward. You may be aware of them.
Reach For Fatigue
Have you ever seen how difficult babies can be at night when they have had a day of lazying about? They get to the end of the with a lot of energy to burn. As such, they can be a nuisance. This is a phenomenon that you would find within our pets as well. It stands to reason, if you can push yourself to fatigue, you will get a good night’s sleep. Exercising during the day is one way to do this. You may consider taking a walk before bed.
We need to be in a relaxed state in order to fall asleep. This is to say that stimulation should be reduced to little or nothing. Find something that relaxes you and incorporate it into your sleep routine. This may be in the form of soothing music.
There is a reason why some of our beds cost as much as they do. A comfortable mattress = better sleep. The same can be said of the pillow as well. While there is some wiggle-room for pillows. Getting the right mattress goes a long way.
Light has always been a cue for our body clocks. This is a part of human evolution. As such, when we are exposed to light in the evening, we can offset our body clock. The result would be difficulty getting to sleep. There is less melatonin produced in the presence of light, as stated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. This is a key hormone when going to sleep. A lack of it will negatively impact your sleep. It is advisable that you get rid of light sources and stay away from device screens.
Winding down to be is fairly important. Switching abruptly, from a point of high stimulation to one where you must sleep can be unnecessarily difficult. Your body is simply not ready to shut down. There are a few cognitive processes that would likely still be running. When you wind down, you allow yourself the time to close some of these processes.
Humans are creatures of habit. When we get used to something we develop our muscle memory which makes us almost automated when we do these things. Sleep is no different. If you develop a routine that your body will associate with sleep, it becomes much easier to fall asleep when this routine begins.
This is a method that has been used in children for generations. Most of us will be familiar with the milk and cookie routine. For some, it was the bedtime story and a tuck in. Whatever the case, these routines have been proven to work. It is surprising that they are not used as much among adults.
So, what does this look like for grownups? A book in bed with a hot drink can make for a great sleep routine. Stick to your routine for a while even if the results do not show up immediately. It may take a while for the muscle memory to develop.
There is no doubt that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a great method to treat sleep disorders. It digs into the root of the problem before seeking solutions. This is not something that you would get when taking sleeping pills or similar solutions.