4 Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

4 Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorder treatments fall into a variety of categories, including: sleep hygiene psychotherapy medications (from mild over-the-counter sleep aids to powerful sleep sedatives and hypnotics holistic approaches It is not uncommon for two or more treatment approaches to be used concurrently. Let’s look at each option in more detail. Sleep Hygiene Sleep hygiene is defined as the various practices put into place to support healthy, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness (National Sleep Foundation). It includes habits such as avoiding napping; decreasing or eliminating stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol; getting enough exercise; establishing a bedtime routine; and arranging the bedroom for optimal sleep (e.g., decreasing the temperature, eliminating unnecessary light, and removing technology devices). It can also include such practices as avoiding clock watching when in bed, exposing yourself to bright light or sunlight after waking, refraining from large meals before bedtime, and keeping a regular wake and bedtime schedule. While sleep hygiene can help the average person address general sleep difficulties, it alone is not sufficient to overpower the symptoms of major sleep disorders. With true sleep disorders, a combination of multiple treatment approaches earns the most effective results. Therapy Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) looks at the relationships between your mind, body, emotions, behaviors, and illness.  CBT is considered the gold standard of therapeutic care for treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia. This therapeutic approach can help you  make behavioral changes to improve sleep hygiene, while also changing thought patterns to decrease the catastrophic thinking, anger, frustration, or hopelessness that is common if you are struggling with sleep disorders. Therapeutic tools like sleep journals,...
The Lesser-Known Impact of Sleep Disorders

The Lesser-Known Impact of Sleep Disorders

In my last post I talked about the four main categories of sleep disorders. Let’s talk about how they affect your life. Adequate rest and sleep are critical for mental and physical health, and are required to function effectively in your daily life. A well-rested brain is necessary for optimal performance in processing, retaining, and recalling information; effective decision-making; storing memories; and managing emotions. A well-rested body is necessary for optimal performance in areas such as quick reflexes, sustained energy levels and energy endurance, and a responsive immune system. If left untreated, sleep disorders and ongoing sleep deprivation can severely affect your mental and physical well-being. You may be familiar with the short-term consequences of sleep deprivation such as increased stress and anxiety, errors in judgment, irritability and other mood problems, decreased performance, and decreased alertness leading to accidents or other traumatic events. Many are unaware that chronic sleep deprivation can have a lasting, detrimental impact on the body and mind over time. Research has shown that sufficient sleep plays a prominent role in long-term health and the body’s ability to ward off chronic diseases and medical conditions. Healthy sleep is a key aspect of chronic disease prevention, while insufficient sleep has been linked to diseases and disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, depression, anxiety, and increased addictive behaviors (NCBI). Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas,...
The Four Types of Sleep Disorders That Make Life Challenging

The Four Types of Sleep Disorders That Make Life Challenging

“Sufficient sleep is not a luxury – it is a necessity – and should be thought of as a vital sign of good health.” ~ Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS, Director, Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. ———- It’s not uncommon for my clients to have trouble sleeping from time to time. Perhaps there is a major life event occurring, or things have been very stressful at work. In these cases, my client’s challenges with falling or staying asleep are short-term, situational, and dependent on external life circumstances. Acute sleep difficulties such as these are vastly different from the chronic and consequential problems of a sleep disorder, which are ongoing and much more problematic. If you’re have trouble sleeping you are not alone. Sleep disorders affect approximately 70 million Americans today (Cleveland Clinic). Sleep disorders are defined as difficulties falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at the wrong times, sleeping too much, or abnormal behaviors during sleep (University of Maryland Medical Center). There are approximately 80-100 different types of sleep disorders that fall into the following four main categories (University of Maryland Medical Center): Insomnia: Problems falling and staying asleep, insomnia can be short-term (lasting 3 weeks or less) or chronic and long lasting, often plaguing a client for months or years. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Problems staying awake, excessive daytime sleepiness can be caused by the sleep disorder Narcolepsy. It can also be caused by medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, low thyroid function, or viral illnesses such as mononucleosis. Sleep Rhythm Problems: Problems following a regular sleep schedule, sleep rhythm problems are often caused by irregular sleep-wake syndrome, paradoxical insomnia,...
Instead of Asking “Why,” Ask this Question to Improve Your Health

Instead of Asking “Why,” Ask this Question to Improve Your Health

Every week I tell many patients that “why” questions are not important.  Instead, we are going to be working on the “hows” of eliminating, or significantly reducing your insomnia, anxiety, nightmares, depression, or the symptoms associated with your pain challenges. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a powerful group of tools to help you get control over the symptoms listed above. I combine these tools with coaching to help people improve their nutrition, exercise, sleep, spirituality and/or meaning or purpose of why you are on this Earth right here, right now. Freudian principles are quite outdated. I spend about 5% of the initial 3 sessions on the causes of symptoms. Even when someone has serious PTSD, we only spend about 20-30% of the initial time on the trauma. We primarily focus on solutions such as hypnosis, EMDR, EFT, CBT, DBT, holistic strategies, and Positive Psychology. How can I help you get back to control over your life? Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas,...
How to Have a Great Day When You’ve Slept Like Crap

How to Have a Great Day When You’ve Slept Like Crap

If you’ve had a poor night’s sleep the last thing you should say to yourself is “I’ll have a perfect or incredible day!” This unrealistic self-talk will negatively affect your mental acuity, energy, and mood.  Also, it’s just not being realistic, and you’ll know it. A better choice is to use a sleep mantra.  Sleep mantras combine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Positive Psychology, and can be ingrained in the unconscious under hypnosis. One mantra I teach people to rehearse when they’ve had a poor night’s sleep is “Even though I slept poorly last night, I’m going to have an above average day.” If you can set positive intentions for manifestation, and decrease the catastrophizing and negative prognostication due to insomnia you’ll be more likely to tolerate sleep-deprivation. Charles R. Freeman, Ph.D.  | Sleep, Pain, Behavioral Medicine Psychologist & Addictionologist  |  Available online (Skype) and in-person in San Diego and Encinitas,...