We spend about a third of our lives sleep, and while everyone knows a good night’s sleep is important, it is also widely neglected. If you have a sleep disturbance, however, you are more than aware of the toll it takes on your relationships, your work life if you work, and your everyday sense of well-being.
Sleep disorders fall into three main categories:
Some sleep disturbances are caused by medical conditions or physical problems, while others occur because of stress or the like. The most common sleep disorder, and the one I treat, is insomnia. Insomnia until now has been diagnosed as one of two main types:
Less and less distinction is being made between primary and secondary as the insomnia often remains in secondary even after the problem cause is dealt with.
My clients’ complaints about insomnia fall into four main categories:
The criteria for an actual diagnosis of insomnia varies, but the following generally applies:
If the insomnia has been going on for less than 2 weeks, it is called “transient”.
If it has continued for 2-4 weeks, it is considered “short-term” or “acute”.
If it has gone on for over 4 weeks, it is called “chronic”.
“I can’t believe it! I have listened to the recording of our session every day, and my sleep is so much more restoring. But also, for the first time in years, I am sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night!”
I treat getting to sleep, staying asleep and having a good quality of sleep. Other issues such as sleepwalking are outside the scope of my expertise.
As a first step I conduct detailed evaluations with the client to fully understand all factors affecting their sleep.
I then present the treatment plan, which consists of:
For many clients, insomnia is caused by a combination of muscular tension and racing thoughts encouraged by the tension, generally treated in a maximum of six sessions, which may be less in cases of short-term insomnia.