Behavioural Strategies to aid Sleep
Give yourself permission to sleep
Try to deal with worries during the day.
If you find yourself worrying in bed write your worries down or make a list of priorities for the next day.
Some people find setting aside a regular “worry time” during the day helps.
Try not to worry about not sleeping – think of it as extra time and do something restfully constructive – but not too stimulating.
These are the other behavioural strategies that have been found to be helpful in terms of altering sleep patterns. They can be very effective but require perseverance and patience – are you ready to give it a try????
Altering Difficult Sleep Patterns
- Sleep Restriction
- The goal of sleep restriction is to regulate the wake/sleep schedule and associate the bedroom with good quality sleep.
- Sleep should always be in your bed, nowhere else. Sleeping should be at night only
- Spend only as much time in bed as your sleep diary indicates you actually slept each night (on average) over the previous two weeks. For Example, if you have been sleeping 5 hours per night, do not go to bed until 5 hours before the time you will get up the next morning.
- Continue going to bed at this time until you are actually sleeping for the full 5 hours. Begin to add extra sleep time (eg 30 minutes) once you have had several nights of good sleep. This means you would then go to bed 5 hours and 30 minutes before you plan to get up. Do not add extra sleep time until you have achieved your sleep goal.
- This procedure produces mild sleep deprivation and promotes rapid sleep onset plus consolidated sleep. However, the costs associated with beginning this procedure is some initial daytime drowsiness. This will alter as your sleep pattern becomes more regular and of better quality.
The final behavioural strategy is referred to as Breaking the Insomnia Cycle. Check it out below……
Break the Insomnia Cycle
- If you are still awake after 30 minutes after going to bed get up and go to a different room or part of your bedroom. This way your body won’t associate sleeplessness with your bed
- Sit quietly in the dark, write down any intrusive thoughts.Only return to bed when you start to feel tired again
- Try some breathing or relaxation exercises.
- If you are still awake after 15 minutes get up again.
- Repeat this for as long as it takes to fall asleep.
A lot of people find it difficult to carry this through and resort to staying in bed out of frustration, fatigue, skepticism. If you can persevere it will be effective
Remember you have nothing to lose as you are not sleeping anyway.
PS …….. Don’t give up