Chronic Insomnia? Try These Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

0
201
A psychology-based app that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Insomnia (CBT-1) to help users sleep more often and for longer.

Although the holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, it can also be a source of added stress due to traveling or planning get-togethers. According to a recent article from BBC, sleeplessness in America is on the rise due to certain external factors including “negative news cycles, international conflicts and economic uncertainty.” When someone doesn’t sleep for three or more nights per week for three or more months, it is considered chronic insomnia, a condition that affects between 10 and 15% of people.

George Wang, co-founder and CEO of Stellar Sleep, created a psychology-based app that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Insomnia (CBT-I) to help users sleep more often and for longer. If you’re looking for some tips to get a better night’s sleep – particularly during this busy time of year, Wang shares a couple of tips.

Reframe “Scary Sleep” Thoughts

According to Wang, CBT-I targets negative thought spirals that exacerbate insomnia. If you are still awake at a late hour, let’s say 2 a.m., you might think, “It’s already 2 a.m. and I only have five hours left to sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep tonight, I’ll bomb my presentation and jeopardize my job.” Psychologists refer to these negative thought spirals as “catastrophic thinking.” In a May article for the American Medical Association, psychiatrist Dr. Tom Zaubler explained this terminology. “Catastrophic thinking is a cognitive distortion that occurs when people have a hard time weighing the likelihood of certain outcomes and believe that terrible or catastrophic outcomes – which are highly unlikely – become in one’s mind, salient and extremely likely,” Zaubler says.

To help change, Wang recommends documenting these moments in a sleep diary, first questioning their validity before replacing them with a more realistic thought. For example, “I have managed with little sleep before and still performed well.” Remember that one poor night’s sleep will not determine your career trajectory.

“Reset” Your Mental Association With Your Bed

For those who have been dealing with insomnia, they may view their bed as a reminder of all the sleep they’re not getting which can cause of feeling or dread or resentment. One technique, called “sleep restriction therapy” helps reset sleeper’s association with their bed. If you toss and turn for up to eight hours, for example, but only find yourself asleep for five, try to only go to bed when you know you’ll be sleeping. “This strengthens the mental association that bed is for sleeping, not lying awake,” Wang says. As you make progress, extend the time spent in bed in small increments.

Insomnia is no joke and while it can affect anyone at any time, following these tips can help start to repair your relationship with sleep. Want one more piece of advice? A recent article from Better Sleep Council recommends trying a cup of chamomile tea before bed to induce a calming response in the brain thanks to a flavonoid called apigenin. To learn more about Stellar Sleep and CBT-I therapy, visit stellarsleep.com.