Can not you sleep? Try this proven alternative to medication.

Around one in four Adults in the United States develop symptoms of insomnia every year. In most cases, these are short-lived and are caused by stress or illness, for example. But one in ten adults is estimated to suffer from chronic insomnia, meaning they have trouble falling or staying asleep at least three times a week for three months or more.

Sleep deprivation doesn't just create physical health It can also cause problems harms our spirit. A current survey from the National Sleep Foundation, for example, found an association between poor sleep health and depressive symptoms. Additionally, studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to anxiety and stress in otherwise healthy people. Fortunately, there is one well-studied and proven treatment for insomnia that generally works in eight sessions or less: cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I.

If you can't find a provider, CBT-I. The instructions are easily accessible online. Still, it's rarely the first thing people try, said Aric Prather, a sleep researcher at the University of California, San Francisco who treats patients with insomnia.

Instead, they often resort to medication. Accordingly a survey from 2020 According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 8 percent of adults reported taking sleep aids daily or most days to help them fall and stay asleep.

studies have found that CBT-I. is just as effective as taking sleeping pills in the short term, but more effective in the long term. Data from clinical studies suggest so even up to 80 percent of people trying CBT-I. “See improvements in their sleep, and most patients feel relief after four to eight sessions, even if they've had insomnia for decades,” said Philip Gehrman, director of the Laboratory of Sleep, Neurobiology and Psychopathology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sleeping pills can be dangerous especially for older peoplewho may experience problems such as falling, memory problems, or confusion as a result of taking the drug. CBT-I. however, is considered safe for adults of all ages. It can even be adapted for use on children.

Many people mistakenly assume that CBT-I. focuses solely on sleep hygiene — the routines and environment conducive to a good night's sleep, said Shelby Harris, a psychologist in private practice in the New York City area who specializes in CBT-I.

CBT-I. uses a range of treatments to address behaviors that interfere with sleep, such as B. afternoon naps or using digital devices before bed, and replaces them with more effective ones, such as e.g. B. observing a uniform wake-up time. But it also aims to address fears and negative beliefs related to sleep.

Insomnia can often lead to a feeling that sleep has become “unpredictable and disrupted,” said Dr. prather “Every day people with chronic insomnia think, ‘How am I going to sleep tonight?'”

CBT-I. teaches people different types of relaxation, such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, and helps patients develop realistic expectations about their sleep habits.

It's especially important that people with insomnia learn to think of their bed as a place for restful sleep and not to associate it with tossing and turning. Patients undergoing CBT-I. are asked to get out of bed if they do not sleep after about 20 or 30 minutes and engage in a quiet, dimly lit activity that does not use electronics. In addition, they are advised to stay in bed only when they are drowsy or asleep.

“CBT-I. leads to more sound sleep and a shorter time to fall asleep, which is a huge win for many,” said Dr. harris.

If you're having trouble sleeping, first see your doctor to rule out a physical problem (like a thyroid imbalance, chronic pain or sleep apnea) or a mental health issue like depression, which may require separate treatment, experts say.

You can search for a provider that is a member of Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine or use the Penn International CBT-I Provider Directory. Your GP may also give you a referral. If you use a general online therapist directory like Psychology Today, be wary of those who claim to offer insomnia treatments but don't have specific training in CBT-I, warned Dr. harris.

Find someone who specializes in CBT-I. can prove difficult—especially for someone purchasing insurance—as there are fewer than 700 physicians trained in behavioral sleep medicine in the United States. And a study from 2016 found that they are unevenly distributed: 58 percent of these providers operate in 12 states. The clinic where Dr. Prather works, for example, has hundreds of people on her waiting list.

A Review of clinical studies found that self-directed online CBT-I. The programs were just as effective as personal CBT-I. Advice. If you're self-motivated, there are several inexpensive or free resources that can teach you the key principles.

One option is the five-week program overcome insomniawhich ranges in price from around $50 for a PDF guide to $70 for a version that includes audio relaxation techniques and feedback on your sleep journal from Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs contains. The expert on sleep and insomnia who developed the program.

You can also stop by Insomnia Coach, a free app created by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which can be used by anyone. It offers a guided, weekly workout plan to help you track and improve your sleep; sleeping tips; an interactive sleep diary; and personal feedback.

Sleepio is another reputable app, said Dr. harris. It's also available online for free resources from the AASM and educational handouts from the National Institutes of Health, which includes a sample sleep journal and guide to healthy sleep.

And for those who would rather ditch technology altogether, more than one expert recommends the workbook, Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep, by Colleen E. Carney and Rachel Manber.

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