insomnia help Temecula

Do this to sleep like a baby at night

I have always been a big believer in self advocacy. When you struggle with insomnia, it's important to try out different avenues so that you can perhaps figure out the cause of your insomnia. Here are 6 things you can do to help you sleep better at night.

1) Ask your doctor about your medications: Some medications can change your sleep cycle. If you are currently on any medications, it's important to have a discussion with your prescribing physician about how your medications could be affecting your sleep. But if you don't talk to your physician about sleep patterns, you could continue to struggle with sleep. Sometimes a little self advocacy cab go a long way.

Concerned about your sleep meds? Read more about sleep medication here. Insomnia and sleep Insomnia chronicles: The scary truth about those sleeping pills you take

2) Try journaling: Often times, anxiety or worries can bring on sleeplessness. If your mind is spinning around with worry thoughts, it is going to be difficult to get good quality sleep. About 30 minutes to an hour before your bed time, sit in a quiet spot and write out what's bothering you. Some people like to write in full sentences, while others use bullet points. If you're creative, you could even draw how you feel or write some poetry about it. The point of journaling is to wrap up your day and get your worries out on paper, so they stop swimming around in your head. 

While journaling, if important tasks for the next day pop up in your mind, it's also a great time to create a to do list for the next day. 

3) Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine a few hours before bedtime: It is an erroneous thought to believe that a 'night cap' is actually helpful for sleep. Actually, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can interrupt your sleep patterns and worsen your insomnia. In the case of caffeine, it has a half life of 5 hours. This means it takes 5 hours for half the amount of caffeine you drink to be fully metabolized (absorbed) into your system. If you drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, you are essentially layering more and more caffeine in your body. So, by night time, chances are all that caffeine is still in there keeping you awake.

And if you find yourself awake late at night, click here to read about Insomnia tips: 10 things to do when you can't sleep at night

4) Practice relaxation about an hour before bedtime: The concept is simple- a relaxed mind is calm, and calmness helps you sleep. But a worried and harried mind is a bad environment for sleep. Remember that your mind and your body are connected. About an hour before bedtime, do something relaxing. Some examples are yoga, medication, prayer, stretches, breathing techniques or listening to soothing music. Let's not forget your sense of smell. Try using a drop of your favorite essential oil and also putting on soft, cozy pajamas. It would also help if your sheets are cool, clean and soft. To help your sense of sight, dim the lights or close the blinds, so that your body's sleep mechanism can also be triggered.

5) Take a nap: Many people who struggle with insomnia or sleep disorders often feel a dip in energy in the middle of the day. If your schedule permits, try taking one 30-minute nap in the middle of the day. This helps to recharge you, but doesn't get you so awake that you cannot sleep at night. Although naps can be beneficial, avoid napping in the evening or too close to bedtime. If you do this, you'll be wide awake at night.  

There you have it. 5 easy tips to help you sleep like a baby. And if you're a woman in Murrieta or Temecula who has struggled with insomnia, and you're ready to sleep soundly again, click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call to see if CBT for insomnia is the right treatment for your insomnia. I also provide online sessions for women throughout California.

Could CBT for Insomnia be the solution to your insomnia woes?

Insomnia is experienced by about 3 million people in the US alone. It often is accompanied by a bit of anxiety and frustration. Sleep becomes an ugly word and the bedroom is thought of as a dreaded place. Insomnia is especially difficult because a lack of sleep can lead to negative mood, reduced concentration during the day and even some grogginess. Sleep loss actually fatigues the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. this simply means it has a negative effect in the actual brain structure. 

Traditional insomnia treatments often include the use of benzodiazepines or sleeping pills, which often come with side effects or a risk of dependency. Plus the truth is these pills don't actually cure insomnia- they merely treat the symptoms on a day to day basis. Click here to read my previous blog post Insomnia and sleep Insomnia chronicles: The scary truth about those sleeping pills you take

What if you're looking for an insomnia treatment without the use of pills? Enter Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). CBT-I is a 6 to 8-week treatment for people who struggle with insomnia. It's useful in both men and women- regardless of age or the amount of years you've struggled with sleep problems. 

It involves a weekly meeting with a therapist or sleep specialist who is trained in CBT-I to discuss a tailored treatment plan for you. Understand that if you do not follow through with your sleep plan, CBT-I will not work for you. But if you collaborate with your therapist and follow through each day, over the course of as little as 6 weeks, you will see a drastic improvement in your sleeping patterns. All the research actually shows that CBT-I is more effective than sleeping pills. Read more about CBT for Insomnia here.

CBT-I has been tagged as the most effective treatment for any adult mental health problem. It's been sanctioned by: 

  • The Mayo Clinic

  • Stanford Health Care

  • Harvard Health

  • The Veterans Health Administration 

CBT for insomnia involves an initial assessment by a therapist or sleep specialist. During this assessment we'll go over all the details of your insomnia, and we will also rule out causes of your insomnia such as stress, trauma, anxiety, depression, among many other factors.

You'll also meet with your therapist 5 more times. The first 3 sessions are weekly, and the last 2 are biweekly. If you need additional sessions or a booster after a few months, that could also be arranged.

As a licensed marriage and family therapist who provides counseling and therapy to women with anxiety, I also provide insomnia treatment in Murrieta using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). For women within California who are too far away from the Murrieta, Temecula or Menifee, I provide insomnia treatment online.

CBT for Insomnia (or CBT-I) is a 6 to 8 week treatment for people who struggle with insomnia. It's the first line insomnia treatment in the USA and it is highly recommended by sleep researchers and sleep experts. Click here to schedule your free 15 minute consultation call so that insomnia can be a thing of the past. You can also call me at 951-905-3181 to find out how CBT for insomnia can help you sleep again in as little as 5 sessions.

5 habits that keep your insomnia going strong

Your least favorite time of the day is night time. While the world is fast asleep, you spend your time tossing and turning. Perhaps you just lay in bed and try to count sheep, but after doing this for months- or maybe even years- it's aggravating.

Or perhaps you actually fall asleep like a baby each night, but the moment you wake up to sip some water or go to the bathroom, you lose the urge to sleep. You've done several Google searches to help you curb your insomnia, but nothing has worked. You've tried downloading every app, but it only works for a short while.

What if I told you that you that your habits could be making your sleep disorder worse? Perhaps your insomnia is actually caused by some of your habits. Well today is your lucky day. Here are 5 habits you need to stop to restore your sleep and improve your insomnia.

1) Taking your electronics with you to bed: These days our gadgets are almost an extension of us. We take our phones with us to the gym, to the store, to the bedroom and even to the bathroom (you know you do this). However these laptops, phones and tablets that are so dear to us emit blue light. The blue light actually sends a signal to your brain and tells it to reduce its production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that helps you maintain your sleep cycle. With this reduced production of melatonin, your sleep cycle is off and your body will think it needs to sleep less.

The solution: To make your life easier, just turn off your electronics about 1 hour before bedtime. If you feel like you absolutely can't do it, just keep them out of arm's reach.

2) Drinking coffee or caffeine all day long: Most people who struggle with sleep problems or insomnia drink quite a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages to help manage the grogginess and sour mood they experience in the morning. However, caffeine has a half life of approximately 5 hours. This means it takes 5 hours for your body to completely get rid of half the amount of caffeine you drank. So if you're drinking more than 1 cup of coffee a day, you're pretty much layering the effects of caffeine in your system.

The solution: To get good quality sleep, limit caffeine intake to no more than 1 or 2 cups in the morning. After noon, stay away from coffee, energy drinks and any other stimulant. This will give your body time to get rid of it completely before night time.

3) Staying in bed when you can't sleep: Many people with insomnia remain in bed for hours when they can't sleep. They'll toss and turn for hours. What this does is it sends a message to your brain that the bedroom is a place of anguish. Your bedroom should really be your vacation spot. When you walk in, you should think "I cannot wait to lay on my comfy bed." Not, "Ugh! My awful bedroom again." When you have negative thoughts about your bedroom, it'll sour your feelings and ruin your sleep pattern.

The solution: If you can't sleep after 30 minutes of laying in bed, get up. Go over to another room, do something relaxing for 30 minutes, then return to bed. Whatever you do, DO NOT pick up any electronics. Remember that blue light is exposure is bad for melatonin production.

4) Working in your room: I'm very guilty of this. I love my room so much that it's my favorite place to think and write. No I'm not writing this post from my bed. When it comes to sleep, it's important to trick your brain. The ideal scenario is to work somewhere else, wind down an hour before bed, then come into your room about 30 minutes before bed time. So the brain automatically knows that it should begin to shut down once you step into the bedroom. But when you work and use your laptop while in your bed, your brain doesn't know that it should shut down. The bedroom becomes a trigger for brain activity, rather than brain rest. You get it?

The solution: Use your bedroom for relaxing activities only. Don't do any writing, intense TV watching, talking on the phone, arguing, or anything upsetting in your bedroom. Use it as your sanctuary.

5) Sleeping in on the weekends: Many people make up for lost sleep over the weekend. They'll go to bed extra late, then get up at noon. The problem is if you sleep in 2 days in a row, that's enough to disrupt your sleep pattern. Your body needs to know when to produce adenosine (the hormone that's responsible for your wake up cycle), and when to start producing melatonin (the sleep hormone). If you aren't being exposed to sunlight, your body won't know to keep you awake, then by Monday you'll end up groggy when you should be alert.

The solution: Don't sleep in for more than an hour on the weekends. If you typically get up at 6am during the week, you should be up and out of bed by 7am. This helps your body maintain a regular sleep-wake pattern.

And if you would like to learn about some other habits to help you sleep, here is a list of habits to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Read more about how your thoughts could also affect insomnia and sleep here.

Those are your first few steps in beginning to retrain your brain so that your insomnia can be a thing of the past. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist who provides counseling and therapy to women with anxiety. I also provide insomnia treatment in Murrieta using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). For women within California who are too far away from the Murrieta, Temecula or Menifee areas, I provide insomnia treatment online.

CBT-I is a 5 to 8 week treatment for people who struggle with insomnia. It's the first line insomnia treatment in the USA and it is highly recommended by sleep researchers and experts. Click here to schedule your free 15 minute consultation call so that insomnia can be a thing of the past.

You can also call me at 951-905-3181 to find out how CBT for insomnia can help you sleep again in as little as 5 sessions.