22 Mar A Good Sleep!
Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) seems promising for helping people get a good sleep at night. You can learn and use CBT-I on yourself, as detailed by Judith R. Davidson, author of Sink Into Sleep.
A sleep diary
She recommends keeping a daily sleep diary for one full week to get a really clear picture of your sleep patterns. This includes, for example, what time you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you wake up in the night and for how long.
Do you have true insomnia?
Davidson sets thresholds to distinguish four types of insomnia, which you can identify for yourself by keeping track of your sleeping patterns.
Initial insomnia – 3 or more nights that take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
Multiple awakenings – 3 or more nights waking up more than 3 times in one night
Middle insomnia – 3 or more nights in which you’re awake more than 30 minutes
End of sleep insomnia (also known as terminal insomnia) – 3 or more nights waking up more than 30 minutes too early.
How it works
CBT-I as outlined by Davidson is based on
– careful restriction of sleep using a constant bed time and getting up time during the second week of CBT-I (these times are based on the first week’s sleep diary)
– using your bed only for sleeping and sex (no reading, no watching TV, etc.)
– leaving the bed at night if you’re awake for more than 10 to 15 minutes, doing something quiet and restful in dim light until you feel sleepy, and then returning to bed
– taking a day time nap if you need it, but no longer than one hour, and only between the hours of 1pm to 4pm
– continuing to keep a sleep diary for up to four weeks, keeping your waking time constant, and carefully adjusting your bed time if needed.
Your own sleep diary
I’ve outlined the first steps for Creating and using a sleep diary, based on Davidson’s method. For more information about CBT-I, sleep diaries, and other strategies for getting a good sleep, I highly recommend her book:
Judith R. Davidson. 2013. Sink Into Sleep. Demos Medical Publishing LLC, New York. 198 pp.
Davidson also covers a variety of health conditions for which CBT-I might be helpful, as well as conditions and situations for which CBT-I may not be helpful.
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