What can I do to get to sleep?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions of a psychologist. Irrespective of client’s problems, sleeping difficulties are usually present, either as a part of their primary condition or as a disorder in its own right.
Sleeping difficulties can have major adverse effects on a person’s life. Such difficulties can lead to psychological distress, impairment in daytime functioning, involvement in fatigue-related error making or accidents, increased use of sick leave, greater irritability and depression, and prolonged use of minor tranquillisers.
We use three major treatment components when faced with clients reporting sleeping difficulties.
1. Behavioural Component
People experiencing difficulty sleeping can develop maladaptive or counterproductive coping strategies, which ultimately interfere with sleep and maintain the problem. This component aims to strengthen the association between bedtime and sleep, and consolidate sleep over shorter periods of time in bed.
Maladaptive thoughts are instrumental in producing emotional arousal, which in turn maintains sleep difficulties. Thus, unhelpful thoughts must be identified, challenged and replaced with more adaptive or helpful substitutes.
3. Educational Component
Many lifestyle and environmental factors (diet, exercise, alcohol, substance use, noise, light and temperature) affect sleep. This component of treatment aim to heighten the client’s awareness and knowledge of the impact of health-related habits and environmental factors on sleep, and to promote better sleep practices.
If you are having sleep difficulties, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Psychology Consultants, we have a large range of male and female psychologists based at Newmarket and Morningside trained in sleep treatment. We also offer group therapy via a program called Towards Better Sleep (www.towardsbettersleep.com.au) Often a brief, targeted intervention will turn sleeping difficulties around quite quickly. For more information on our team of Psychologists visit www.psychologyconsultants.com.au/psychologists-2