Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To Go to Sleep, Get Out of Bed

For some people with insomnia, the key to falling asleep is their bed. They need to get out of it.

And sleep on the floor? No, they can still sleep in the bed. They just need to stop spending so much time in it.

This has to do with psychophysiological insomnia: psycho = mental, physio = physical, logical = study or science of. It occurs when the mind and body interact in a way that keeps you awake.

With this form of insomnia, you may learn to associate your bed with frustration. You toss and turn, unable to fall asleep. So getting into your bed causes feelings of anxiety.

This explains why you may sleep better away from home. You’re in a new bed and in a new environment. The negative associations are absent. So you are able to fall asleep quickly.

What can you do when you suffer from this type of insomnia? One step you can take at home is to practice "stimulus control." This is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy.

First, you should learn to associate your bed only with sleep. Don’t read, watch TV or talk on the phone in bed.

Second, you should go to bed only when you are sleepy. One of the worst things you can do is get into bed when you feel alert. That is a recipe for frustration.

Third, give yourself about 20 minutes to fall asleep. Then if you are still awake, get out of bed. Do something relaxing. Once you feel sleepy, go back to bed again.

You also should practice the healthy habits of good sleep hygiene. Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Try to wake up at the same time every day.

A medication also may help you with sleepless nights. Talk to your doctor before trying to treat insomnia on your own.

No comments:

Post a Comment