Over the course of the previous two features on sleep we have focused on what we know about sleep (part one) and what can go wrong (part two). In our final chapter we will focus on some of the helpful methods you can employ to help you get a better nights sleep. We being with Sleep Restriction Therapy.
Sleep Restriction Therapy.
Its own description might appear paradoxical but sleep restriction therapy (SRT) has been clinically shown to be an effective short-term method of balancing sleep with wakefulness and can be used for establishing good sleep patterns for those with disruptive factors that are environmental in origin. The first step is to choose a time when you will go to bed. Lets make this time midnight for example. Prior to midnight, all ‘normal’ evening activities are permitted, however the insomniac is not permitted to go into his or her bedroom and is not allowed to sleep. Upon midnight, sleep is permitted (by this stage it is hoped the sufferer is tired and has not had the chance to lie in bed tossing and turning. The individual will have a normal, fixed wake time (say, seven-thirty in the morning) and this wake time remains unchanged. But, over a period of time, the newly established ‘bedtime’ is made earlier each evening by thirty minutes until a ‘normal and ideal’ bed time is found-say nine-thirty in the evening. One of the vital characteristics in SRT is to try and maintain the newly established bedtime. Indeed one of the most important habits an insomniac must aim for is a fixed bedtime and wake time.
Paradoxical therapy (PT) is not for everyone but can work very well for those who suffer from insomnia from environmental factors. Unlike SRT, PT involves ‘getting-up and doing something’ after trying to get to sleep. Now, i’m not going to advocate getting-up and re-insulating the loft but a simple activity like getting-up, moving to another room with a blanket and reading a book under a soft light might be just the task that will allow the body to drift into sleep. PT is subjective and will normally involve a distracting, low-effort task that can be engaged in for 15-20 minutes.
Cognitive Filing (CT), sounds much more technical than it is. However, it is one of the most tried and trusted methods I have employed with my clients to control insomnia from mental factors. CT involves writing-down the subjects or scenarios that are causing consternation (those thoughts and feelings whirling around in our heads that we have trouble putting a lid on) and can be written on a piece of paper (for added closure I get my clients to seal the paper in an envelope too). The ‘paper with the problems’ is then filed away somewhere by the client (ideally in a drawer in another room). The client then returns to bed and hopefully, with the thoughts filed away, they can drift successfully off to sleep. It sounds very ‘old wives tale’ but trust me, it works!
The final solution is one we have developed right here at Mold. It’s our own ‘Sleep Questionnaire’. This thorough and effective tool has been exclusively designed by Mold Physiotherapy and can be done in under five minutes. In that time, the questionnaire asks about all the individual factors that can influence your sleep issues, environmental, mental and biological. Once we have identified the root of your sleep issues we at Mold will then employ some of the methods above-and others-to assist you in getting that elusive full nights sleep.
If you suffer from poor sleep quality, know someone who does or are simply interested in knowing more, get in-touch with us today by calling or clicking at the top of this page for an appointment.