Do you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? Do you wake often and feel restless? The Harvard Medical School suggests an approach called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBTi).
CBTi focuses specifically on what you think, feel, and do to undermine restful sleep. A typical treatment plan involves first ruling out medical causes and then meeting with a therapist weekly five to eight times. Initially, you need to complete a sleep diary to record your sleep pattern. Then you return to the therapist’s office to work on some or all of the following areas, depending on your needs:
- Sleep hygiene. Habits that help establish a healthy sleep pattern.
- Sleep restriction. Shortening your sleep period to strengthen your internal sleep drive. Gradually you increase it to your normal sleep duration.
- Stimulus control. Breaks the association between being in bed and struggling to sleep.
- Cognitive therapy. Identify and correct negative thoughts and feelings associated with sleeplessness.
- Relaxation. Learn techniques likes rhythmic breathing or meditation, to relax and soothe yourself before bed.