There are some therapies that use combinations of techniques in order to deal with insomnia and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one such therapeutic methods. It comprises two main components, a cognitive one, which mainly refers to relaxation therapy and a behavioral one, which can target the education of sleep hygiene. This therapy is employed when trying to erase or replace bar sleeping habits with new, good ones and it includes techniques like sleep restriction therapy, stimulus control therapy, sleep hygiene and relaxation therapy.
The sleep hygiene refers to a number of factors, both environmental and life-style related, which can determine the quality of one’s sleep. In order to obtain a high quality, there are some instructions that can be followed and can help a lot in achieving the above.
One of the first rules of a hygienic sleep is having a comfortable, quiet, cool and relatively dark bedroom. Also, it’s recommended to avoid eating foods that are very likely to give you indigestion before sleeping, so you won’t get disturbed. It’s also recommended to avoid nicotine and caffeine based drinks, as well as alcohol, at least with a couple of hours before going to sleep. Keeping consistent hours for going to sleep and waking up is an advantage as well as establishing a relaxing routine before sleeping, such as warm baths and chill-out music. Physical exercises make the sleep a bit profounder, but not when practiced too close to the sleeping hour, but in the afternoon.
Keeping a diary with habits and their effects on your sleep can help in tracking down potential disturbing factors, be it by finding them yourself or discussing first with your therapist.
The stimulus control therapy aims to emphasize the bond between you and your bed and bedroom. Therefore, if you can’t fall asleep after twenty minutes, is important to get out of the bed and return only when you are sure you can fall asleep relatively quickly. The bed mustn’t be used for activities other than sleeping and sex, naps are to be avoided and the waking hour would be important to be the same each day, no matter how much you slept during the night.
Relaxation is another important component of the therapies dealing with insomnia. When going to sleep, the mind must be released from all the thoughts during the day. Thinking about situations, issues and problems is to be avoided, in order to facilitate a smooth sleep. Usually the therapist is able to recommend relaxing strategies, from listening to certain music, imagery and muscle relaxation, as well as stopping any thoughts that keep you connected to your day to day life.
Sleep restriction technique aims to improve the quality of your sleep by reducing the sleeping hours. By adjusting the sleep and the wake hours, improvements in the quality of sleep are very likely to occur, reducing at the same time the anxiety towards the sleeping problem. However, this technique needs to be checked with a doctor first, so that a certainty that no other medical or psychological conditional is causing the insomnia is obtained.