Insomnia & Sleeping Difficulties
Insomnia is a very common complaint. It can have a severe impact on your ability to work, study or maintain relationships.
Insomnia refers to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early, or non-refreshing sleep. It can occur most nights per week, for a month or more. It often occurs as a symptom of another disorder such as anxiety and depression. It also occurs as a syndrome in its own right.
Psychological treatments for insomnia are highly effective. They have many advantages over using medications.
Signs and symptoms of insomnia
Most people with insomnia report feeling day-time effects of lack of sleep including:
- Feeling tired (physically exhausted) during the day.
- Feeling sleepy (like you could doze off, or fall asleep) during the day.
- Difficulty paying attention or concentrating.
- More likely to have accidents or make mistakes.
- Muscle tension, headaches, stomach aches.
- More irritable or easily upset.
The effects of insomnia
Many people also worry about their inability to sleep. This makes it even harder for them to fall asleep. Insomnia can affect people’s ability to handle stress, leaving them feeling overwhelmed. They can become irritable, frustrated, angry, anxious and/or depressed. Not surprisingly, it can take a significant toll on an individual’s performance at work or study. It also often impacts on their relationships with others.
Treatment for insomnia
Successful treatment of insomnia involves changing factors that maintain the sleeping problem. Treatment strategies may include::
- Arousal reduction and relaxation.
- Stress management.
- Treatment for any concurrent problems such as anxiety.
- Improving sleep hygiene.
- Minimising consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
- Monitoring and changing unhelpful beliefs and thoughts about sleep. For example, the belief that “I won’t cope tomorrow if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep”. This is likely to increase arousal levels and make it more difficult to sleep.
- Using ‘bright light therapy’. To shift circadian rhythms.
- ‘Sleep restriction therapy’. For sleep patterns that include multiple awakenings.
- Sleep Problems & Insomnia – Better Health Channel.
- Insomnia & Sleep Health – Australasian Sleep Association.
- Insomnia Fact Sheet – Sleep Health Foundation.
- HANDOUT: Sleep Hygiene – Centre for Clinical Interventions.
To find out more about our treatment for Insomnia or Sleeping Difficulties:
- Book an appointment with one of our psychologists.
- Or call the LIFE Psychology clinic on 1300 084 200.