I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink.
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink.
– John Lennon
Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep is a health problem that affects a large portion of the population (and yes, John Lennon did have problems with insomnia). Following a proper exercise program is a foundation to establishing a regular sleep pattern and I work with many of my clients to get them on the right path to a good night’s sleep.
The first step is to diagnose the source of your sleep problem. You should consult with your physician if you regularly have problems getting a good night of sleep. Your sleep problems could be due to conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or restless legs syndrome.
One of my clients was recently referred to the Royal Ottawa Hospital by her physician where they have a Sleep Disorder Service. She spent a night at the clinic and the diagnosis was OSA. A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) system was prescribed and now she is able to sleep through the night.
If your sleep is a result of insomnia, there are several options available to you. A client of mine has tried Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and has successfully reconditioned his sleeping pattern back to normal. He had chronic insomnia for over five years and was unable to conquer the problem until he followed a CBT program.
One of the challenges with a CBT program is finding a qualified therapist in your area. In addition, a long therapy program can be quite expensive.
My client was able to follow a program developed by Dr Gregg Jacobs, an insomnia specialist at the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr Jacobs has written a book “Say Goodnight to Insomnia” and offers an online therapy program (for a fee) at his web site.
If you were wondering about the effectiveness of self administered insomnia treatment programs using an online service, several recent studies have confirmed that they do work with patients and can change sleep patterns in a positive fashion.
I have read Dr Jacobs book and basically his message is this:
1. Medication is not the long term solution to insomnia.
2. You need to create the right conditions to encourage sleep
3. A regular exercise program is critical to regular sleep.
4. Change your Negative Sleep Thoughts (NST) to Positive Sleep Thoughts (PST)
5. Use stress reducing techniques like Relaxation Response
Let me know your thoughts and experience with sleeping problems and treatment options.