Treatment For Insomnia
Sleep is an important psychophysiological event that we need on a daily basis. Although there is no single accepted hypothesis for why we need to sleep, four main theories have been suggested:
1) Sleep helps to repair the cells in our body that have been damaged during the day.
2) Throughout the day we burn energy constantly, so sleep may ‘fill-up’ the tank for the next day.
3) During the day we absorb and take in information. Sleep may help us to process all that has happened, consolidate what we have learned and get rid of unnecessary information.
4) While we sleep, we may be replaying what happened during the day to reinforce learning and memory.
Regardless of the reason(s) we need to sleep, we can all agree that sleep is important to our psychosocial happiness and well-being. We have all had sleepless nights and have felt what it feels like to not be well-rested the next day. However, is this persist for days and weeks into insomnia, you should seek the help of a healthcare professional.
Why Can’t I Sleep: Causes And Symptoms Of Insomnia
Sleep is a multifaceted psychophysiological event, and as a result there is no one main cause for insomnia. Insomnia can be due to physical or psychological causes, as well as bad ‘sleep habits’. Some examples of physical causes are:
- Sleep apnea.
- Night time asthma.
- Chest pain from heart disease.
- Some degenerative diseases.
- Jet lag.
Common psychological causes for insomnia include:
- Drug or alcohol use.
- Life transitions.
- Transient stressful life events.
Insomnia and trouble sleeping can also be the result of a bad sleep routine:
- Irregular sleep schedule due to shift work.
- Trying to fall asleep while watching TV or using the computer.
- Room temperature being too hot or too cold.
- Intense exercising just before bedtime.
Over time, insomnia can lead to the following commonly reported symptoms: fatigue, sleepiness during the day, irritability, difficulty concentrating, constant yawning, a loss of energy, watery or teary eyes and feeling down. Insomnia can eventually develop into a complex multifaceted problem in which numerous causes and symptoms can become interlinked. For example, imagine the case of someone who travels frequently for work and is sensitive to jet lag. The lack of sleep could affect their ability to concentrate and perform at work over time. This could in turn lead to anxiety about sleeping, making it more difficult to fall asleep when they are in bed and exacerbating their insomnia.
Regardless of the causes or symptoms, if you find that insomnia is affecting your ability to function, then you should seek help from a healthcare professional. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), if you are having difficulty either initiating or maintaining sleep or your sleep is non-restorative and it is affecting your personal, interpersonal, social or work functioning, you should consider seek help and guidance.
Treatment For Insomnia: How To Sleep Well
Insomnia and difficulty falling asleep are issues that I see frequently in my practice and for which our clients seek help. When treating insomnia and teaching clients how to sleep well, I recommend that they have a physical examination competed with their general practitioner or family doctor to rule out any physical causes for their insomnia. Having ruled out any physical problems, we then evaluate the cause for their insomnia by looking at their regular sleep routine and habits, whether anxiety and/or depression may be playing a role, as well as stressful life events or transitions.
If you are interested in seeing how we treat insomnia, you can consult our toolkit on treating insomnia Sleep Hygiene: How To Get A Good Night Sleep. Insomnia can also sometimes be a symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Major Depression, which we would treat. For more information on these two problem, you can consult the following Blogs: Therapy For Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Treatment Of Depression.
We trust that you will find the information we have provided valuable in helping you to address any issues you may have with difficulty sleeping and insomnia. If you feel that you need additional support, do not hesitate to Contact Me to book an appointment for more in depth help. If you appreciate and use these suggestions, please join with us and help us to fulfill our mission to promote the use of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) in the Montreal area. If you use Twitter, please “Tweet” our suggestions and ‘Like’ both this Blog as well as the Montreal Therapy & Psychological Wellness Centre on Facebook.