“I’m Sleep Deprived and Immune to Sleeping Pills!” At Legacy Counseling Service in Broken Arrow, we help clients in the Tulsa metro area overcome sleep problems.
The suffering you feel from having insomnia, despite trying many sleep medications, is real. Many people are still not able to get a restful night’s sleep even though they have medication to help them sleep. You might feel like a zombie, going about the day in a daze, because of sleep deprivation. You may be at your wit’s end from feeling so tired but still being expected to keep up with everything.
Insomnia is not the same as Sleep Apnea
You have probably felt the frustration of going to your doctor, many times, for sleep medication. Or, you have had a sleep study done and found out that you have sleep apnea. Even though you take the medication and wear the mask, you still can’t sleep. That’s because insomnia is different than sleep apnea.
Insomnia is having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning.
These problems occur most nights of the week and may have been going on for 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years! Usually, a person with insomnia has difficulty taking naps during the day despite feeling so tired, but they can sometimes fall asleep at night in another place that is not their own bed. There are many causes of sleep problems and insomnia can result in a lot of problems: depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, poor work performance, decreased ability to handle stress, irritability, and a lot of health problems.
Sleep apnea, without getting too technical, is when a person stops breathing multiple times (sometimes up to 100 times!) during the night. Usually, the person is not aware that they have stopped breathing. The characteristic signs of possible sleep apnea are extremely loud snoring, being very sleepy during the day, waking up with a dry mouth or headache, falling asleep unexpectedly during the day, and being overweight. But, just because a person is overweight or is slender does not mean that they do or do not have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a sleep study. Many people who have sleep apnea also have insomnia, while some people just have sleep apnea, or just have insomnia.
Insomnia and Depression and Anxiety
It is common for people who are struggling with depression and/or anxiety to have problems sleeping. Sometimes this is an aggravating symptom of those disorders, and sometimes it’s a separate disorder. It’s important to have your psychologist evaluate all of these conditions to determine which should be treated first. For many people with insomnia, depression is a side-effect of sleep deprivation; once insomnia is treated the “depression” is no longer present.
Tulsa Cognitive Behavioral Counseling for Insomnia: New Hope for Being Tired
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia is effective and short-term, typically taking 6-8 sessions. Insomnia usually results from developing bad sleeping habits over a period of time for one reason or another. One bad habit is not that big of a deal, but when a lot of bad habits get thrown into the same bed for a period of time, no one gets any sleep, and being tired becomes the norm!
While we are working together to improve your sleep you’ll keep a daily sleep diary (very easy and quick to fill out) that I’ll review at every session. This information will help us find your stuck points throughout the treatment and allow us to see your progress. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia has 5 main techniques that will help you sleep better:
- Sleep education: identifying behaviors that get in the way of sleeping and teaching you to regularly implement snooze-promoting behaviors. For example, we’ll figure out how to get you on a regular sleep schedule, eliminate napping (or nap smarter), reduce nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and exercise in the hours before bedtime.
- Cognitive therapy: learning how to address beliefs and thoughts you have about sleep that actually keep you awake, and learning how to manage the anxiety that keeps your mind on overdrive. For example, many people think they must have 8 hours of sleep when that might not actually be how much sleep you actually need.
- Stimulus control: reducing emotional anxiety and the physical sensations of being “keyed up” that snowballs over time and results in you feeling awake when you get into bed regardless of how tired you feel. For example, learning to get out of bed and leave the room when you can’t fall asleep and only getting back into bed when you feel sleepy.
- Sleep restriction (this part is not as scary as it sounds and doesn’t last very long over the course of therapy): matching the amount of time spent in bed to the amount of time you are actually sleeping (we will get this information from your sleep diary) and gradually increasing this over time so that you are sleeping an optimal amount for you. For example, if you are in bed for 9 hours but only sleep for 5 of those hours, then we’ll determine a sleep schedule for you that initially has you in bed for 5 hours. Once your sleep becomes more efficient (meaning that you are sleeping for all of those 5 hours), then we will gradually increase how much time you are in bed so we can train your body to sleep longer and longer.
- Relaxation: learning strategies such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or breathing techniques that indicate to the body that it’s time to relax and will cue the body for bedtime.
If you’re ready to finally sleep better without medication, call Christi or Brittany, our admin team at 918-505-4367 today for an appointment. Providers who are trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia are Dr. Melissa J. Leedy, Ph.D., Kristi Spence, LMFT-C, and Patti Trammel, LCSW.