Saturday, September 3, 2011

Insomnia Meaning and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT

Insomnia meaning, according to WebMD, is a sleep disorder characterized by the difficulty falling asleep easy, staying asleep during the night, waking up too early in the morning and not feeling refreshed in the morning. There are two types of insomnia; primary insomnia is not caused by another health condition and secondary insomnia is having sleep problems due to other psychological or physical disorders such as asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, alcohol abuse or chronic pain. Insomnia also varies in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia lasts at least three nights or longer.

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Acute insomnia is caused by stress, illness, emotional or physical discomfort, environmental factors, medications and disruptive sleep patterns (jet lag or shift work). Chronic insomnia can happen when a person is depressed, anxious, in pain or suffering from chronic stress. Symptoms of insomnia include; afternoon sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, lack of focus and delayed physical reaction.

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to function well the next day. On average a woman age 30-60 sleeps only 6.9 hours a night during the work week. Women are more likely than men to have insomnia symptoms that interfere with their daily activities. More women suffer from pain caused by headaches, monthly menstrual cycle (PMS) and arthritis which interrupts their sleep. Women also experience a great deal of stress and sometime depression along with physical ailments.

If you are not getting the rest you need to function during the day a key to trying to treat your insomnia is first keeping a sleep journal to figure out what sleep habits are hindering your sleep. For example you may be drinking too much caffeine right before bedtime or taking a nap too late in the day. Other factors to include in your sleep journal are; time you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, if you wake up periodically during the night, what time you wake up and how many hours you slept. A sleep journal will also help your physician diagnosis your sleep disorder and determine what treatment is needed or recommend further testing at a sleep clinic.

Sleep studies have shown that sleep restriction is effective for treating insomnia. If you have an idea how long you sleep and the know the number of hours you need to function during the day, lying in bed tossing and turning only increases anxiety which in turn makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Restricting the amount of time in bed should sequentially allow you to get more deep sleep. Calculate the hours of actual sleep and divide it by seven to get your average sleep hours. Establishing a bedtime routine that starts at least 30 minutes before you retire will give your body and mine time to relax.

Good sleep habits won’t change your insomnia especially if it’s chronic but incorporating relaxation techniques can help those that are not sleeping due to anxiety and stress. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques have been known as highly effective treatment for insomnia.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)? Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a program that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen your sleep problems with positive habits that promote deep refreshing sleep. Cognitive meaning: recognizing and changing beliefs that affect your sleep. Behavioral meaning: developing good sleeping habits and breaking bad habits that prohibit sleep. CBT for insomnia includes sleep education, cognitive control and psychotherapy, sleep restriction, remaining passively awake, stimulus control therapy, sleep hygiene, relaxation training, biofeedback and sleep diary.

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Sleep education helps you to understand the basics of sleep, the sleep cycles and how certain behaviors and external factors can influence your ability to sleep. Cognitive control and psychotherapy teaches you how to eliminate negative thoughts and worries that keep you awake as well as thoughts about how lack of sleep maybe causing you to become sick. Sleep restriction, as stated before, is limiting the time in bed so you are more likely to fall asleep easy and stay asleep. Remaining passively awake involves letting go of stress so you can fall asleep. Stimulus control therapy helps remove conditions like no electronics in the bedroom, using sleep aides to eliminate noise or light, getting up if you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes to help you sleep better. Sleep hygiene consists of eliminating or limiting lifestyle habits that influence sleep such as; too much caffeine, spicy hot foods (heartburn), napping to late in the afternoon, alcohol and nicotine too close to bedtime and exercising too late in the day. Relaxation training calms the mind and body, techniques include; meditation, hypnosis, muscle relaxation, breathing exercises or yoga stretches. Biofeedback is a method that allows you to monitor your biological signs such as; heart rate and muscle tension. Sleep diary or journal details your sleep habits and the amount of time you sleep that can help a sleep specialist diagnosis and treat your insomnia.

Many times your doctor will recommend sleep medication for treating acute insomnia as these drugs have been approved and preferably recommended for short-term use when someone maybe highly stressed or grieving. If you have long-term or chronic insomnia CBT is a better treatment choice due to prescription or over-the-counter medication side effects or possible dependency. Unlike sleeping pills, CBT for insomnia addresses underlying causes rather than just treating the symptoms. Taking medication for a short period of time while adjusting to CBT treatments can smooth the progress of eliminating your insomnia. CBT requires practice and patients, but if you stick with it you are likely to see lasting results.

The content provided in Insomnia Meaning and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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1 comment:

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