Seeing a Psychologist about Sleep Disorders
In many cases, people knowledge insomnia because they grow a pattern of behavior that interferes with good sleep habits. Sleeping difficulties are often related to underlying problems such as stress, sadness or anxiety. It is a good idea to consult with a physician or another medical professional to learn if medical problem may be contributing to your sleep difficulties and treat related medical problems. Seeing a psychologist may also help you address sleep problems. Psychologists can help people change their behaviors and control the thoughts, feelings and emotions that can interfere with a healthy night’s sleep. Licensed psychologists have the professional training and skills to treat individuals suffering from depression and anxiety, which have been linked to sleep problems like insomnia.
In working with a psychologist, you can expect to talk about your on the whole physical and emotional health, and your health beliefs and behaviors. A psychologist will help you identify any underlying stressors and behaviors that may be interfering with sleep.
Depression and Sleep
- Depression is one of the most general mental illnesses. More than 16 percent of Americans experience major depressive disorder during their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And depression and sleep problems often go hand in hand.
- Many people with depression experience hypersomnia, a condition in which they sleep more than normal. On the other end of the sleep spectrum, insomnia is also general among people with depression. In fact, research suggests that people with insomnia are 10 times as likely to suffer from clinical depression.
- Some people develop sleep problems first, and then go on to experience depression. In others, depression happens before signs of sleep disorders. In either case, sleep difficulty is just one of many reasons to seek treatment for depression.
- Depressed people typically feel hopeless and guilty. They often lose interest in routine activities and withdraw from family and friends. They may have thoughts of suicide. Treatment can address both depression and the sleep problems that go along with it.
A person with insomnia has trouble falling or staying asleep. When sleepless nights persist for longer than a month, the problem is measured chronic. Often, people with chronic insomnia see the problem come and go, experiencing several days of good sleep followed by a stretch of poor sleep.
Steps to Better Sleep
Consider the following steps that can be helpful in changing unhealthy habits and improving your sleep.
Create a relaxing sleep environment-Keep your bedroom dark, cool and as quiet as possible and keep electronics such as a computer, TV and phones out of the bedroom. Exposure to stimulating objects and lights from computer and TV screens can affect levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your body’s internal clock.
Don’t discuss or deal with stressful or anxiety-inducing situations right before bedtime– Just as exercise can raise energy levels and body temperature, discussing difficult topics will raise tension and may provoke a racing heartbeat. Protect the quality of your sleep by dealing with any stressful topics long before bedtime.
Set a sleep schedule. Maintain a regular sleep routine-Go to bed and get up at the same times each day, even on the weekends. Don’t go to bed too early. If you hit the sack before you’re sleepy, you may lie in bed awake and start to feel anxious. That will only make it more difficult to drift off.
Limit naps- Late afternoon naps can interfere with nighttime slumber.
Maintain a regular exercise routine-. Research shows that exercise enlarge total sleep time, particularly the slow-wave sleep that’s important for body repair and maintenance. However, don’t exercise too late in the day. Working out close to bedtime can boost energy levels and body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep.
Avoid late night meals and alcohol consumption- Skip heavy meals before bed, and limit alcohol. Even if a cocktail seems to help you fall asleep, it can interfere with sleep superiority and disrupt sleep later in the night.
Curb nicotine and caffeine use– These stimulants can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, especially if consumed late in the day.
Schedule down time before bed- Meditating, breathing exercises, taking a bath and listening to relaxing music are great ways to calm down at night.