Adult Sleep Therapy Services
When We Sleep Better, We Are Better
Adults have trouble sleeping, too. If you aren’t sleeping when you want to sleep or you wake up still feeling exhausted, I can help with proven sleep therapy techniques. Sleep affects your mental, emotional and physical well-being as well. When we sleep better, we ARE better.
If you struggle with sleep, you are not alone! Over 60% of Americans report difficulty with sleep a few nights a week or more. And 80% of individuals with a mental health diagnosis have underlying sleep issues. What does this mean? Sleep loss has a MASSIVE impact on your emotional and mental health and well-being, not just your physical health. Adequate sleep is essential to mental and emotional regulation. During sleep, the brain creates new pathways, processes information, and regenerates the brain and body. Research has linked inadequate sleep to a myriad of issues, including: depression, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, post-partum depression, ADHD, learning disabilities, obesity, emotional dysregulation, health complications and more. So yeah, sleep is important.
How Do Adult Sleep Problems Develop?
Well, some adults have always been crappy at sleeping. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard adults say, “My mom says I’ve always been a terrible sleeper!” This is one of the biggest reasons I advocate for baby sleep training. 1) it helps you learn to self-soothe and learn skills to sleep well from a very young age, and 2) when your family culture is one where sleep is SO important, you take that with you for the rest of your life. My dad, always the life of the party and always up for adventure would often say “eh, I can sleep when I’m dead!” as justification for depriving himself of sleep for one reason or another. I have had to consciously overcome this sleep= missing out association that was imbedded in me my whole life. (Sorry, Dad! The other 99,000,000 life lessons you taught me were spot on.)
Sometimes physical stuff gets in the way of our sleep. Maybe sleep apnea develops at some point, or restless legs or heartburn wake you up in the middle of the night without you realizing it. These folks have slept a full night but wake up feeling exhausted. Their sleep quality is poor, even though their sleep quantity is on point.
Most often, it’s life changes, stressors or bouts of acute (minor) insomnia that turn into chronic insomnia. It’s common for most people to have little bouts of insomnia at different periods in life. New moms, especially, are prone to developing chronic insomnia because their sleep has been so thrown off by a new baby and they’ve reprogrammed themselves to be shallow sleepers who wake easily and often in the middle of the night. Or perhaps it was school stress or job stress that had you up all night unable to fall asleep, and now months later you can’t fall asleep easily anymore. Usually what happens in these instances is that you’ve conditioned your brain to do this annoying new sleeplessness. Instead of associating your bed with sleeping, you associate going to bed with NOT sleeping. Have you ever been SO tired all day or all evening, only to feel wired right at bedtime? Or fallen asleep on the couch, but as soon as you move to bed you’re wide awake? That’s the conditioning I’m talking about. Don’t worry, we can re-wire that.
The other thing that turns acute insomnia into chronic insomnia is what we do to manage it. So if you only slept 4 hours at night, maybe you try to catch a nap during the day to offset some of your sleep loss. Sounds like a good idea, and many people rave about the benefits of napping. But if you have chronic insomnia, your body starts to rely on this fragmented sleep that says “I’ll get 5 hours tonight and 2 hours mid-day, making 7 hours of sleep total. Great.” But it’s not great. You really wish you could sleep more than 5 hours at night and not need a nap.
Adult Sleep Therapy Can Fix Sleep Issues
To start sleep therapy, we first do a comprehensive sleep assessment to figure out what your specific problems are, and then if you are a candidate for CBT-I, we do that. CBT-I is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy specifically designed and researched for the treatment of insomnia. According to the APA, “In clinical settings, CBT-I has a 70-80 percent success rate for helping those who suffer from chronic insomnia. Almost one third of people with insomnia achieve normal sleep and most reduce their symptoms by 50 percent and sleep an extra 45-60 minutes a night.” According to many studies, CBT-I is more effective and longer lasting than sleeping pills.
If you’re not a good fit for CBT-I then we look at other treatment options. Getting a sleep study might be a next step to confirm or rule out sleep apnea, a problem with disrupted breathing during sleep. We’ll also give you customized behavioral modifications (think sleep hygiene) to work on, and give you tools to shut off anxiety, to do lists and racing thoughts right before bed.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get you snoozing!