One on One Sleep Therapy for Insomnia

Insomnia

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder affecting millions of people across the globe. Chronic insomnia is defined as having difficulties falling or maintaining sleep for three or more nights per week for at least three months. This inability to have stable sleep affects patients daytime life whether through excessive daytime fatigue or sleepiness.

What are the Symptoms of Insomnia?

We need to sleep. It is essential for our health and has recently been viewed by medical professionals as being as fundamental to your health as diet and exercise. This is why many studies have correlated continuous poor sleep to poor health outcomes.

Patients suffering from insomnia however, often complain of:

  • Taking 30mins or more to fall asleep initially
  • Having difficulties maintaining sleep for more than 30mins
  • Having daytime fatigue and low energy levels
  • Having poor motivation, concentration and memory
  • Changes in mood: more anxious, stressed or irritated

How is Insomnia Treated?

All it takes is a simple Google search to find a million different ‘quick fix’ treatments for your insomnia. Sleepy teas, essential oils and vitamin supplements are but a few of the things out there that guarantee a good night rest. Any success these products provide are often short lived and don’t address the fundamental causes of chronic insomnia.

There are many studies out there that look at how to best treat insomnia. What you will find is that the most commonly recommended treatment advise is to conduct Cognitive Behavioural Therapy designed for Insomnia (CBT-I).

Often when complaining of sleep problems to your doctor, you are prescribed a sleeping tablet. Some patients may find this beneficial, but studies show treating insomnia is far more effective with CBT-I than any drug used to treat sleeping problems on the market.

It’s Important to Remember…

Insomnia can be a symptom of other Mental Health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, as well as a bi-product of other physical health conditions such as menopause or pregnancy. However, it can also develop as a condition in its own right.

By not treating your insomnia, you run the risk of having further complications to your health and increase the likelihood of a relapse of anxiety or depression.

Therefore, it is important to talk to your mental health professional or doctor about getting specific help for your insomnia as part of your broader mental health or medical treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Insomnia
A clinical consultation is normally all that is needed to determine whether a patient has insomnia or not. Your sleep specialist will determine if there is further testing that may be required, but this is often if they expect another medical condition could be at play. Chronic (long term) insomnia is characterised by difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep or having non-restorative sleep despite having adequate opportunity for sleep, together with associated impairment of daytime functioning, with symptoms being present for at least 3 months.

There are many causes that can contribute to insomnia, such as anxiety/stress, lifestyle factors, medical conditions, medications, or other sleep disorders. Seeking early treatment of these underlying causes can sometimes treat your insomnia.

When your insomnia becomes chronic (>3months), it can last for months or even years and often requires more specialised intervention in order to revert the sleep to normal. The best way to do this is through cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).

In the first few months of your sleeping problems, it is possible that your insomnia will self-correct once the causing problem is gone. It is not always easy to determine what the cause of your sleeping problems may be, so seeking professional help may be beneficial.

For those patients who have had insomnia for years and years, it is less likely the insomnia will just magically disappear on its own. Treatments designed for chronic insomnia are the best way to get back to healthy normal sleep.

Yes! You do not have to suffer with your insomnia forever. Many patients have had their sleep revert back to completely normal after decades of sleeping problems.

The underlying cause of how your insomnia started is some sort of stress, but this isn’t necessarily a psychological stress. It could have been stressed caused by a medical condition (e.g., sleep apnea, pregnancy or menopause) and from a mental health condition. Commonly is it caused by stressful life events such as work stress or a situational crisis. Through our sessions together I will help you understand the underlining mechanics of this so you feel fully informed about your sleep.

Poor sleep can be made even worse by everyday behaviours and thinking patterns that patients often adapt to deal with their insomnia. Together we will explore these and help you have that lightning bolt moment of understanding about how your sleep has gotten to the point of where it is.
There are various treatment methods out there, however studies continuously prove that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is the most effective treatment. It is evidence based and considered the gold standard treatment by Australian and International medical guidelines.
Unfortunately, there are many negative health impacts to poor sleep that have been well documented. Accumulative sleep loss has been associated with health consequences such as raised blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health disorders and an increased risk of accidents. This is why many health professionals consider good sleep as beneficial to your health and good diet and exercise.
Whilst insomnia causes negative health impacts, it is very rarely fatal. Sleep deprivation has caused deaths in the past, but that is very separate issue to insomnia. If this is something you are concerned about, please reach out to me and we can discuss this in depth.
It used to be the way of thinking that insomnia was just a symptom of a mental health disorder, and when that was treated, normal sleep would resume. This thinking has changed in recent years to a more bi-directional relationship with mental illness. Insomnia can increase mental health symptoms, and vice versa. Insomnia however can be caused by a physiological issue as well. Women going through menopause is a perfect example of this, where their medical condition has been the catalyst of their sleeping issues.