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,...
Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

Common Treatments for Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorder treatments fall into a variety of categories, including sleep hygiene, psychotherapy, medications ranging from mild over-the-counter sleep aids to powerful sleep sedatives and hypnotics, and holistic approaches. It is not uncommon for two or more treatment approaches to be used concurrently. Sleep Hygiene Sleep hygiene is defined as the various practices put into place to support normal, 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 (i.e., decreasing the temperature, eliminating unnecessary light, and removing technology devices). It can also include such practices as avoiding clock watching when in bed, exposing oneself 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, which looks at the relationships between the mind, body, emotions, behaviors, and illness, is the gold standard of therapeutic care for treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia. This therapeutic approach helps clients to make behavioral changes to improve sleep hygiene, while also changing thought patterns to decrease the catastrophic thinking, anger, frustration, or hopelessness that is common for clients struggling with sleep disorders. Therapeutic tools like sleep journals, cognitive restructuring, guided imagery, and hypnosis can help clients...
The Basics of Sleep

The Basics of Sleep

“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 clients we work with to experience difficulty sleeping from time to time. Perhaps there is a major life event occurring, or things have been very stressful at work. In these cases, however, the 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. 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), sleep disorders affect approximately 70 million Americans today (Cleveland Clinic). There are approximately 80-100 different types of sleep disorders that fall into the following four main categories (University of Maryland Medical Center): Insomnia – Defined as 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 – Defined as 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 – Defined as problems following a regular sleep schedule, sleep rhythm problem is often...
Sleep Promoting Nutrition

Sleep Promoting Nutrition

Three of the major foundations for mental and emotional well-being are nutrition, exercise and sleep.  At the core, eating healthier, sleeping well, and staying active helps you cope with and rejuvenate from daily stressful situations.  In addressing sleep issues specifically, some foods interfere with good sleep hygiene and other foods can better regulate neurotransmitters which aid in restful sleep. There are a couple of major components that we should discuss in achieving optimal sleep.  Melatonin and serotonin are found to have a significant impact on quality of sleep.  Serotonin is instrumental in mood regulation, for decreasing anxiety, eliciting calm, and for sound sleep.  Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland and helps to control and maintain your sleep and wake cycles.  Without melatonin, your brain would not recognize the necessity to wind down and relax when necessary.  The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a critical role in communicating accurate messages to the brain. In order for your body to produce serotonin, it requires the amino acid tryptophan, usually found in protein rich foods.  If protein is absent in one’s diet, neurotransmitters like serotonin can’t be built. In general, a well balanced diet, is optimal for good sleep.  Most importantly, the first two meals of the day should include lean protein which further aids mood stabilization and cognitive functioning.  Before bed though, you should consider a different approach.  Large portions of red meats block the synthesis of serotonin, and thus, decreases the likelihood of sleep initiation and uninterrupted sleep. In considering what snacks to eat before bedtime, let’s first discuss what you shouldn’t eat.  Simple carbohydrates, such as white rice,...