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Why Sleep Therapy is important

  • 19 May 2019
  • By Anurag Raut
  • 0 Comments

Once you have tried hard enough to get that elusive sleep that seems to be still dodging you, you know it is time to consult a somnologist or a sleep therapist. Once you commit to getting good sleep you need to be patient and find a therapist who you feel is right for you. Sleep can be very psychologically driven and often needs deep delving into.

Along with therapy you need to ensure you are making the right lifestyle choices that aide sleep such as exercise as it relieves stress and anxiety. Any stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and sugary foods need to be completely avoided for a good night sleep.

Nixing stress and anxiety is the absolute solution and you could start by adopting some stress management techniques such as 4-7-8 breathing pattern. By mastering the art of stress management and keeping positive, you will notice your sleep also improving.

Therapists use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to address negative thoughts and behavior patterns that are the underlying causes usually for insomnia and other sleeping problems. Cognitive behavioral therapy works in two ways; by first teaching you to recognize and change your negative belief patterns, secondly by helping you replace certain set behavior with good habits.

A therapist usually identifies your sleep disorder by asking you to keep a sleep diary where you pen down everything about your sleep routine. The details can be important as they help pinpoint the exact problem for your therapist.

The cognitive aspects of CBT include challenging your existing thoughts—known as cognitive restructuring—in which the negative thinking patterns are challenged and replaced with positive thoughts.

Here are some techniques employed by sleep therapists:

Sleep restriction therapy (SRT) ensures you spend less time in bed awake. It helps you associate the bed with sleep and is particularly effective in curing insomnia. Stimulus control therapy helps to identify and do away with bad bed time habits that come in the way of good sleep. All distractions like TV or your smartphones find no place here.

Your therapist will ask you to give special attention to your sleep zone and may insist on certain cut-off timings and encourage you to keep your bedroom dark and quiet enough to enable sleep.

Therapy also includes fixing a syndrome known as “paradoxical intention” which means remaining passively awake. Since worrying about not being able to sleep causes anxiety and makes you restless, therapy is used to rid you of that worry. Relaxation training: Known to be very effective if practiced on regular bases. Techniques such as breath awareness meditation, shav asana or progressive muscle relaxation and hypnotherapy under supervision can help you relax at night. Biofeedback is done by attaching sensors to the body to measure physiological functions—such as heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension; all of which can determine one’s sleep quality.

Remember if you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel, and ultimately how you sleep. So aim to feel good and enjoy good sleep.

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