Sleep Restriction Therapy | Insomnia Treatment with Sleep Restriction Therapy

Sleep Restriction Therapy

Sleep restriction therapy is based on the observation that insomnia sufferers tend to spend more time in bed than necessary.

Insomnia sufferers spend longer amounts of time in order to make up for their loss. Therefore, the goal of sleep restriction therapy is to do the opposite i.e., to shorten the amount of time spent in bed in order to consolidate sleep.

Sleep Restriction therapy instructions:

  • Step 1: Begin by staying in bed the amount of time that is allotted and that you think you can sleep. Almost all of us can get a small bit of sleep each night, even if it is for only a few hours. If you think you only sleep 5 hours, then only stay in bed for 5 hours.
  • Step 2: Napping can disturb your circadian rhythm and hurt your ability to sleep again when you need to. When you nap during the day, you teach your body to sleep when it shouldn’t, and then it can’t sleep when you actually need to. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you should never try to nap again. If you feel exhausted during the day, use your light box or get out in the sunshine and exercise until the drowsiness is gone, but don’t give in to napping.
  • Step 3: You must get up at the same time each day, no matter if you get less sleep than required.
  • Step 4: Bright light is the most powerful controller of the sleep wake cycle. Using light will help retune a normal sleep/wake pattern, and trying sleep deprivation therapy without bright light is not nearly as successful. Using light for just about ½ hour upon awakening is sufficient to regulate the sleep/wake cycle.
  • Step 5: You can add 15 minutes of sleep per night until you start having trouble sleeping again.
  • Step 6: Sleep only for that amount of time, even if you could sleep in more.

It is suggested that you begin by spending a minimum of 5 hours in bed, regardless of how long you think you sleep, so that job performance does not suffer too much and you are able to function during the day. If you have difficulty staying awake, do not attempt this method. It is not for everyone. Carefulness should be used because of the initial sleep deprivation.

It is important that you discuss with your physician before following sleep restriction therapy. Get a referral to a sleep lab in order to rule out other disorders first. A sleep specialist will go into additional details when using this method. They will require you to keep a sleep/wake log and they will observe your progress and perform calculations which will determine your success.

This method can take 3 or 4 weeks before it is efficient so be patient. Also, you will find that you are trying to stay awake rather than trying to fall asleep. This will help to alleviate the anxiety that you usually associate with sleeplessness.

Therefore the Sleep restriction therapy is used to limit the amount of time spent in bed to actually sleeping. The sleep restriction therapy helps to shrink the margin between bedtime and morning wake time so that the sleep period follows the individual's biological sleep requirements.


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