A practical approach to defeat insomnia and sleeping problems:
This practical list of simple rules and healthy skills will help you change your poor sleep. It is not easy and you will need to put your effort in it. We ensure it is well worth and you will see the results as soon as two weeks.
You must follow this approach to the letter.
There are 6 stages:
STAGE 1: Don’t go to bed until you feel sleepy
Only go to bed once you start to feel sleepy. Don’t go to bed because the others are going to bed, or because you feel bored or because it is ‘bed-time’. You must stay up until you feel tired no matter how long this takes.
STAGE 2: Your bedroom is only for sleeping
This step gets rid of the things that keep you from sleep. While reading a book seems like a good idea, it is not. If you are reading, you are not sleeping, so it must go. So you should not read, watch TV, listen to the radio, write letters, phone friends, etc.
This does not include sex. Sex can help relax you and may help you get over to sleep.
As soon as you get into bed, put the light out and try to sleep. Though you may know good sleepers who read in bed or watch TV, you must do these things outside the bedroom at least until you get on top of the problems.
STAGE 3: If you don’t fall asleep in 25 minutes, get up
If you are not asleep in 25 minutes, you may not be asleep in 50. So after 25 minutes, go back to the living room. Don’t watch TV. Don’t eat or drink. Read a magazine rather than a book or listen to relaxing music. You must stay in the living room until you feel tired again, no matter how long this takes. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed.
At the start, you will be up many times each night. It is hard to get out of a warm bed but you must do this.
STAGE 4: Repeat (and repeat and repeat)
Repeat Step 3 again and again, if you have to. So you have 25 minutes each time to get over. If you don’t – it’s back to the living room.
STAGE 5: Get up early each morning
Get up no later than 8.00 / 8.30 am. Set the alarm and as soon as it goes off, get up and out of the bedroom.
Even if you feel that you have hardly slept a wink, you must follow this to the letter. You should also try to do this seven days a week, i.e. no lie-ins until you get this problem sorted out.
STAGE 6: Don’t try to catch up on sleep
You may want to nap during the day to catch up on lost sleep, e.g. after a meal. Don’t do it. Save the sleep for bedtime.
Work out when you most want to sleep during the day. Then work out a way of dealing with this – go out for a walk, phone a friend, etc.
Keep at it.
This is a very good approach but it is also a hard one to follow. It makes great demands on you. It is very tempting to stay in bed after 25 minutes, to have a long lie or to have an afternoon nap because you can hardly keep your eyes open.
Fight these urges the whole way. Don’t expect rapid change.
Your poor sleep may have built up over a long time. So it will take time to get better.
NO magic escape from a bad routine. SO START NOW AND CHANGE IT.
You might also be interested in…
Guided self-help for insomnia, Changing Minds Center.
Bear, M. F., Connors B. W., Paradiso, M. A. (2007) Neuroscience: Exploring the brain. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkin
Christensen, J. F., Feldman M.D. (2003) Behavioral Medicine in Primary Care. 2nded. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.
Epstein, L., Mardon, S. (2006) The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep. London: McGraw-Hill Education.