EMDR — Transforming Stress and Trauma
• Enhancing Performance
Sleep Disturbance / Sleep Disorder or Insomnia Therapy and Treatment
Short and Simple List of Sleep Problems
• Difficulty falling asleep
• Early awakening and unable to fall back to sleep
• Spontaneously falling asleep (narcolepsy)
• Lack of tiredness
• Feeling tired frequently
• Sleep apnea (a breathing problem that jolts one awake)
Did you know it takes the average person 20 minutes to fall asleep? If that is what it takes you, you do not have insomnia. Just enjoy and relax into the quiet and peace for 20 minutes and you will be fine.
We know sleep is important to our mental health, but it is also important to our physical health. A recent research report demonstrated that significant loss in sleep each night can translate into loss of years in our life. Even children have been found to have sleep problems. It can affect their physical and emotional health, as well as the proper development of their intelligence. Occasionally, it can produce symptoms that mimic ADD/ADHD.
Interestingly, the rate of sleeping problems in America has greatly increased since the advent of TV advertising for sleeping medications. When people visit a doctor, the 3rd most popular complaint is of sleeping problems. 54% have experienced some insomnia in the past year (2005 National Sleep Foundation Survey). 30-40% have occasional insomnia, and 12% to 15% have chronic insomnia. Generally, the treatment given is insomnia medication.
And yet research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is superior to Insomnia Medication in 3 randomized studies done between 1999 and 2009. CBT was compared to Lunesta (which spends a Million dollars a day on TV advertising).
CBT is more effective short term (4 weeks)
CBT is more effective long term (1 year)
Ambien benefits disappear when medication is eliminated
80% of CBT patients fell asleep faster than they did with medications.
50% of CBT patients feel asleep as quickly as normal sleepers (in 20 minutes)
Did you know that problems with insomnia are also highly related to depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other psychological distress conditions? A full 35% of those who go to sleep centers, also have psychological problems. To ignore these is to miss a major contributing factor that is responsive to EMDR treatment.
Sleepiness issues are not simply a concern about a nicety of life, they can impact peoples driving, and are doing so at increasing rates in our hectic modern world. 1 in 5 drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel. Sleepiness is found to be a factor in over 100,000 police reported crashes each year, causing 76,000 injuries and 15,000 fatalities.
Choose from these tips to try to restore sleep:
Check with your physician to see if a sleep study may be indicated. Sleeping medications are best used as a last resort, rather than a first solution. Try CBT (as well as EMDR which integrates CBT into it naturally) and other natural and common sense methods first.
Common Sense Tips:
Allow your biorhythms to work. Keep a sleep-hygiene schedule and try to stick to it as best you can, even on weekends. Some good tips are to get to bed before 10 pm and then get up at 6 am (or adjust to your preferences to earlier or later). On this schedule, avoid eating after 7 pm to allow your body 3 full hours to complete the digestive process. With your meal, drink a tea that promotes good digestion, such as mint.
Avoid viewing disturbing material on television, disturbing material in books, or conflict with others in the last hours of the evening, especially when you are already in bed. Use your bed only for sleep or for affection with your partner. Ban TV from the bedroom. Create an appealing, relaxed evening ritual. Make your bedroom your “sanctuary.”
Provide yourself with 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you miss sleep, make it up. For every three hours missed, you should give yourself at last an extra hour at the next opportunity.
Find daily aerobic exercise you can enjoy for 20-30 minutes. (walking is excellent).
Minimize drinking fluids in the evening so you will not need to awaken just to use the toilet. If you still awaken, try telling your body, “Be quiet, be still, you can go to the bathroom in the morning.” If in 5 min. the urge hasn’t reduced, do go. But you can gradually train an over-sensitive bladder using this method.
Be cautious in the use of refined sugar (including alcohol) at night, which can disturb sleep for some people.
Be sure you had a nutritious supper, and follow a nutritious diet in general. Being under-nourished can also disturb sleep.
Minimize the use of caffeine, which includes not only coffee, but chocolate, tea, many sodas and energy drinks. All can disturb sleep. If you feel you need it, avoid taking caffeine after 3 pm and work on reducing your caffeine habit. Because of it’s activating nature, it can increase emotional problems related to over-active areas of the brain. This includes depression (over-active limbic system) and anxiety (over-active basal ganglia). Though many students use caffeine to help them study, research has shown that this does not make them better learners. And if they go to the test without the caffeine activating their mind in the same way, they may "go blank." The information is stored at that amped up state in the brain, and it cannot be accessed from a calm place.
An exception to the drinking rule may be the use of herbal teas that promote sleep. Popular westerns teas are chamomile and valerian. Commonly used teas from the East include gotu kola, jatamansi, or ashwaganda. Oriental medicine also uses herbs to treat insomnia.
It is important to be assessed by a physician to see if your insomnia has a medical cause. If so, it is considered Primary Insomnia and will not respond to EMDR treatment.
How EMDR Therapy Can Help Psychological (or Secondary) Insomnia:
Sufferers of PTSD, nightmares, emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, or addiction often have sleep disturbances. Their brains are overactive, struggling to cope with memories, emotions, thoughts and sensations. Recent research suggests that EMDR can improve sleep as a positive, unexpected side effect. If you check out the EMDR brain scan on the home page, it is easy to see how this is possible, even when improving sleep is not the usual focus of trauma therapy. Our therapists can provide you with the information, support, and therapy and/or referrals needed to improve your sleep, your health, and your life.
EMDR can also help with Conditioned or learned insomnia resulting from poor sleep hygiene.
How would an EMDRIA-Certified EMDR Therapist treat insomnia? He or she would start with assessing your unpleasant insomnia experiences, as if they were trauma. Yes, they may be a small "t" trauma, generally. But occasionally they are related to a major trauma that happened in conjunction with the sleeping issue, as in a natural disaster that happened at night and disrupted sleep. After the past experiences were desensitized with EMDR, the recent and then current experiences would be processed. Other possible issues to address could be actual nightmares as trauma, the fear of insomnia, trauma-related dreams, childhood fears (monster under bed).
Treatment would be complete when the client can picture themselves going to sleep naturally and easily, into the future. This is considered "Future Template" work. The brain seems to need the progression of past, present, and future for the EMDR treatment to be comprehensive and complete.
Give our EMDRIA-Certified EMDR Therapists a call today, and begin to find more success in meeting your important need for sleep.