Updated: Sep 4
That’s the question I probably answer most often, and the answer is simple: by providing short-term, evidence-based, cognitive and behavioral interventions.
In other words, I provide a lot of education about the science of sleep and work collaboratively with my clients to apply the science of sleep and human behavior to develop interventions to gradually change their sleep-related behaviors.
“That sounds way too simple.”
Maybe so, but it’s what works!
It’s hard for me to scroll through social media without another celebrity touting the latest sleep aid, or without seeing commercials for the latest prescription or over-the-counter medications, apps, podcasts, and audios all intended to “help people sleep better.”
I love seeing sleep in the limelight, too. In our hurry-up-and-do-it-all world, we take it too much for granted. Even I used to sometimes say "I'll sleep when I'm dead," but I've since learned that that kind of mindset comes at a cost to my mental and physical health and performance.
And, many people claim that those quick fixes work. In some ways, that’s not altogether surprising to me; not only do some of the powerful prescription medications help your mind and body to relax enough to push you into sleep, even the belief that something can help may be just enough to help a person to relax and worry just enough less about falling asleep that they’re able to actually do just that.
Unfortunately, those medications used to treat insomnia (difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early) don’t really fix the problem. Moreover, they're also not intended for long-term use. Some also cause unpleasant side-effects that also affect daytime functioning.
The good news, however, is that there are better options. The #1, most effective “gold standard” treatments for insomnia and many other sleep disorders are cognitive and behavioral. That is, treatments that help people to change some of their pre-existing beliefs and knowledge about sleep, as well as their sleep-related behaviors and daily routines. Both the American College of Physicians and the American Association for Sleep Medicine recommend CBTi - Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia - as the “front-line,” treatment-of-choice for insomnia.
Whether it’s insomnia or insufficient sleep, bedtime problems, difficulties adjusting one’s sleep schedule to fit daily life demands (from school start times to shift work), or learning to tolerate CPAP devices for sleep apnea, and more, I can work collaboratively with clients, families, and related health providers to develop the individualized sleep-related strategies that can help clients of all ages sleep better.
Check out some of my additional resources below, and reach out directly to learn more or to schedule an initial consultation.