Sleep accounts for a third of our lives, and a growing number of doctors believe that it should receive more attention from the medical community. Doctors have now linked sleep-related illnesses to hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, depression, and an overall decreased quality of life.
Insomnia is characterized by the inability to fall asleep, the inability to stay asleep or both. There are many possible causes of insomnia such as chronic depression, temporary stress, misuse of sleeping pills, irregular breathing, chronic pain and disruption of the regular sleep-wake pattern such as that caused by shift work. Improvement of poor sleep habits, pre-sleep habits and attitudes toward sleep can resolve insomnia. Behavioral therapy can be used instead of or in combination with, short-term use of low-dose hypnotic medication. Behavioral therapy has been found to produce improvements that are longer lasting than those of hypnotic medications. Insomniacs can learn skills that can be used repeatedly to manage their own insomnia at home and allow them to develop a greater sense of control over their sleep problem.
BEHAVIORAL THERAPY TREATMENT MODALITIES
• Progressive relaxation
• Stimulus control
• Sleep hygiene instruction
• Adjustment of sleep/wake schedule
• Sleep restriction
• Systematic desensitization
COGNITIVE TECHNIQUES • Cognitive restructuring
• Covert assertions and imagery
• Thought stopping
BRIGHT LIGHT THERAPY
• Natural outdoor light
• Exposure to light box therapy