sleep disorder treatment Murrieta

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.

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.

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 women 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.

Insomnia chronicles: What to do in the evening when you can't sleep

Insomnia is a huge pain. But if you struggle with insomnia, you already know that. But did you know that there are some strategies you could use to help prepare your mind for sleep so that you're not eternally banished to a frustrating night of tossing and turning? Here are some things you could do in the evening to begin to wind down before bedtime. The goal is not necessarily to wear yourself out. The goal is simply to help your mind begin to shut down, so that you can have a relaxing night of sleep.

Listen to slow, relaxing music: In this social media age, most of us have our phones glued to our hands 24 hours of the day. But if you read my previous post about the 5 habits that keep your insomnia going strong, you already know that the blue light that our electronic devices emit, actually prevents our brains from producing the right sleep chemicals at the right time. Translation: Your phone might be preventing you from sleeping. So what should you do to help you wind down at night? Listen to soothing music. The emphasis is on soothing. Ensure that the music does not drum up any difficult feelings of anger, sadness or hurt. The last thing you want is to go to bed feeling enraged or sad. Perhaps something soft and instrumental will help your brain know that it's time to shut off the day's worries, and it will begin to get ready to sleep. If you find yourself drifting off to sleep when you're listening to music, then you know you're on the right track.

Knit, sew or quilt: Yes, I know, very few people actually knit, sew or quilt these days, but these are gentle, relaxing activities that don't take much thought. You want to avoid activities that make you think or worry right before going to bed. Why? Because you'll end up tossing and turning as you ponder all night. The point is you don't want to lay in bed for hours on end before it's your actual bedtime, so find a calming activity to tide you over until it's time to lay in the bed. Avoid just laying in bed for hours on end. Not only is it frustrating, it makes your insomnia worse. And if you absolutely don't knit, sew or quilt, find something else soothing that doesn't involve a TV, phone or tablet. Remember these electronic devices emit blue light that can worsen your insomnia or make it harder for you to sleep.

Organize old books, pictures and clothes: Insomnia and other sleep disorders are tricky. You might feel exhausted during the day, but then when it's finally time to sleep at night, you lay wide awake. So instead of dragging yourself to bed at 6pm, stay up a little longer and do something productive. Organize old books, pictures or maybe even your closet. If you're a fan of Marie Kondo- the great organizing queen- then you know all about how to fold and tidy up. And if you've never heard of Marie Kondo, just do a quick Google search to find out how to tidy up your entire home. The bonus part of tidying up is that a tidy bedroom actually helps you feel more relaxed. And a relaxed mind is the perfect recipe for good sleep.

Take a bath or a shower: In an ideal world, your body temperature should rise in the morning when the sun comes up. This triggers your brain to wake up. Your temperature climbs steadily until evening time, when the sun goes down. After the sun sets, your body temperature begins to fall. This signals your body to begin to release melatonin, which helps you sleep. To help you get ready to sleep, try taking a cool shower. Of course, nothing too chilly- you don't want to catch a cold. Perhaps a warm shower to help your body temperature begin to drop. If you're a fan of baths, get some relaxing music, a few drops of essential oils, grab a good book, and soak in the tub. This will help you forget the worries of the day and prepare your body for sleep.

Make your lunch for the next day: And if you absolutely cannot quiet your mind after taking a shower, you might as well begin to prep for the next day. Evening time is a great time to pack lunches for the kids, cut up vegetables for the next day or even prep breakfast for the next day. When you wake up the next morning with lots of free time on your hands, your body will thank you.

And if you'd like to learn a lot more habits to help you sleep, click here to learn more.

What do you like to do in the evening to keep insomnia away? And if you're a woman struggling with insomnia, click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call to see if CBT for insomnia treatment in Murrieta is the right one for you. In as little as 2 months, you can go from frustrated insomniac to sleeping like a log. I also provide online sessions to women throughout California. Call now.

5 Habits to help manage your insomnia

Insomnia can really be a real pain. Tossing and turning before you're able to fall asleep is very aggravating. Perhaps you've tried sleeping pills, but maybe you don't want to have to take a pill before you get some shut eye. Well, here are a few tips to help you drift off to sleep faster:

1) Create a restful nighttime routine: Many of us come back home from work in the evening, then continue to be busy, and then try to fall asleep after that. Your body needs to gradually transition from busy mode to rest mode. Your body needs a sign that it's time to begin to release the melatonin you need to become sleepy. Create a solid calming night time routine for yourself. This sleepy time routine is a great way to send your body that signal it needs. Choose any activity that feels soothing to you. It could include relaxing with a nice book, listening to some soothing music, drinking a cup of caffeine free tea (caffeine will keep you up, so avoid this at night), soaking in the tub or doing a light stretch. It doesn't really matter which activity you choose- as long as it's relaxing and calm. 

2) Exercise at the right time: I'm sure by now you've heard that you need to exercise for about  30 minutes a day to keep you healthy. Well, did you also know that exercising 3 to 6 hours before bed time could actually improve your sleep? Well, it's partly because there is a correlation between your body temperature and your sleep cycles. An average sleeper has a higher body temperature during the day and a lower body temperature in the evening. Exercise helps increase your body temperature- and of course it helps your body release endorphins (happy hormones). So not only would exercising at the right times help regulate your body temperature, it could also boost your mood. A win win for sure.

3) Keep your home cool in the evening: When your body temperature begins to fall in the evening, it signals your body to produce melatonin- the sleep hormone. However, if your body temperature is still too high, your body doesn't know that it's supposed to prepare for sleep. To give your body a competitive edge, ensure that your home is cool in the evenings so that your body temperature can also fall to the appropriate level. So, a warm body signals your brain to wake up, and a cool body signals the brain to begin to shut down for the night. 

4) Make your bedroom cozy and inviting: You work hard all day, and then you completely ignore the little things when you get back home. Your bedroom should be a place of relaxation. Think of it like your own personal spa. When you walk into a spa, the light is usually dim, it's quiet, it smells great and the temperature is nice and cool. It doesn't have to cost you much to recreate that effect. Make sure your sheets and clean, get a bottle of essential oils to get you relaxed (lavender is usually a great choice), dim your lights in the evening and maybe even play sounds of nature or some other relaxing sound. The goal is to create a comfortable environment so that your mind begins to relax the moment you walk into your bedroom. If your bedroom is cluttered and messy, chances are you won't find it relaxing enough to sleep- especially if you're already struggling with insomnia.

5) Avoid electronics an hour before bedtime: I know we are the social media generation. While social media is a great way to socialize and learn the latest gossip, those phone screens do nothing good for insomnia. Phones, tablets and televisions all emit blue light. Blue light disrupts the production of melatonin- the sleep hormone. Without an appropriate level of melatonin in your body you just won't be able to sleep well. If you phone or tablet becomes a temptation, try storing it away from your bed. Don't keep it on your nightstand- as it's too easy to reach in the middle of the night Some people even keep their phones in another room so that they don't reach for it in the middle of the night.

And if you'd like to learn a lot more habits to help you sleep, click here to learn more.

Now that you know 5 easy steps to manage your insomnia, start implementing them and let me know how it goes. If you're ready to finally kick insomnia out of your life, click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call to see if CBT for Insomnia is the right treatment for your sleep problems. Remember, there is help for your insomnia, You just have to reach out. I also offer online sessions for clients throughout California.

5 Benefits of CBT for Insomnia

It is estimated by the National Institutes of Health that about 30 percent of the general population have some struggles with sleep. That equals to millions of people who can't fall asleep or stay asleep every single day. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT for Insomnia or CBT-I) is one of the leading treatments for insomnia in the United States. If you're considering getting some help for your sleep struggles, here are some of the benefits of CBT for Insomnia.

Short term treatment: No one wants to go through months or years of treatment before there is a solution to their sleep or insomnia problem. The great thing about CBT for Insomnia is that treatment is complete in as little as 6 to 8 weeks. That's it! No gimmicks, no injections, no magic tricks. If you actually follow the plan that is laid before you by your therapist or sleep specialist, you can find relief in less than 2 months. CBT for Insomnia is actually based off of years of research. It's been researched and/or used by Harvard University, The US Department of Veterans Affairs, The Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medicine, amongst others. If the plan is followed closely, you'll actually experience relief.

They could help you get off sleeping pills: No one likes to take sleeping pills. Typically, people take them because they think it's their only option. However, the problem with sleeping pills is that they don't actually cure insomnia. They might help you fall asleep for the night, but then the next night, you'll have to take yet another one. This happens night after night, until your body starts to become dependent on the sleep medication. So what starts off as a harmless pill to help you go to sleep, might actually end up in a near addiction. During your CBT-I treatment, your therapist will work closely with your prescribing physician so that you can be safely tapered off of sleep medications. 

Works on improving your core negative sleep thoughts: Anyone who has ever struggled with insomnia or any other sleep disorder, knows that night time is dreadful. Your mind begins to fill with thoughts such as "I hate my bedroom." "I cannot believe I'm just laying here tossing and turning." "If I don't get enough sleep tonight I'm going to be exhausted tomorrow." The truth is, these thoughts don't actually cause insomnia-like some people erroneously think- the thoughts are simply triggered by laying awake in discomfort for hours. 

When you work with a therapist who is trained in CBT for Insomnia, you'll learn how to challenge these negative sleep thoughts and replace them with more realistic, positive sleep thoughts. The principle is simple. Your thoughts directly affect your feelings, which then affect your behavior. So if you have negative thoughts about sleep, you become frustrated or sad at night, which then maintains your insomnia. But once you learn how to change those thoughts, your feelings about sleep become more positive, you look forward to night time, and your body becomes much more relaxed- enabling you to sleep better. 

Can be customized to meet your needs: CBT-I is a customized process. When you begin your treatment, your therapist will take a thorough assessment to figure out what your sleep patterns are, what your environment looks like, what your typical schedule is, as well as other emotional factors that might be affecting you. Based on your honest responses, you'll both work together to come up with a weekly plan of action to help you improve your insomnia. It's never a one size fits all approach.

Sleep plan is very easy to follow: After your initial assessment with your therapist, you'll work with him or her to come up with a weekly plan of action. Each day, you'll spend about 5 minutes working on the sleep plan. It's easy to follow- even for those with very busy schedules or chronic insomnia struggles.

If you have been struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep for 2 to 3 nights a week, for over a month, you might have insomnia. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call to see if CBT for Insomnia treatment in Murrieta is right for you. You can also call 951-905-3181 to find out more about CBT for Insomnia. Don't let insomnia take over your life. You can get relief. If you are too far away from the Murrieta or Temecula area, I also offer online sessions within 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.

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 5 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.

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-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 sleep experts. Click here to schedule your free 15 minute consultation call so that insomnia can be a thing of the past.