What does CBT for insomnia look like? When a client first sees Silberman, they work on uncovering the client’s current sleep pattern and the factors that are negatively affecting their sleep. They accomplish this by completing sleep logs, for instance.
They talk about a variety of potential issues, such as: “What’s causing them to have these problems at night? Are they tossing and turning because they can’t turn off their brain at night or is it some kind of pain or an environmental stimulus, such as a baby waking you up?” Is smoking one of the culprits? (Smoking is a stimulant, so smoking right before bed can make it tougher to fall asleep.) They ponder whether physiological factors are to blame. For instance, a medication you’re taking might be causing poor sleep.
When treating insomnia, in addition to sleep logs, other techniques include sleep restriction (described later) and reducing any anxious or worrisome thoughts the person may be having around sleep or their life in general.
Sleeping Strategies To Try
Silberman shared the following strategies you can try on your own to improve your sleep.
1. Observe your sleep.
Gathering data is key when trying to treat insomnia or any kind of sleep trouble, Silberman said. In her book, she provides readers with several worksheets to log in your sleep. This is essential because it helps you figure out what habits are hindering your sleep (such as a stressful event, caffeine intake, daytime napping or TV watching) and how long you’re actually sleeping.
In fact, Silberman said that many different things can affect your sleep. At first, sleep or lack thereof seems random. But once you commit your habits to paper, you might notice that the three glasses of wine or two cups of coffee you had led to your sleeping poorly. Maybe another day, you ate a super-spicy meal for dinner, leading to heartburn and little sleep.
When observing your sleep, it’s helpful to consider: what time you went to bed, how long it took you to fall asleep, how often you woke up during the night, what time you finally got up and how many hours you slept. Recording this information each morning for a week helps you spot patterns.