How sleep therapy works
Most of us do not get enough sleep each night causing irritability and inability to think clearly. Left unmanaged sleep issues can cause significant emotional and physiological issues. Make a commitment to have optimal sleep. Sleep disorders can be treated with or without medication and there are a number of effective psychology driven treatments available.
The quality and quantity of sleep you gain on a daily basis can significantly impact your ability to concentrate and complete daily tasks and may even exacerbate current or chronic mental and physical health problems. Sleep disorders and problems can exist independently or in conjunction with other mental health conditions.
Psychologists can help you manage your symptoms, identify the causes of your issues and ensure that the sleep issues do not encroach on regular life activities. We can help you explore your attitudes towards sleep, implement imagery and relaxation techniques, ensure that you have the optimal sleep conditions and habits set up and help reduce your performance anxiety around sleep.
Why start sleep therapy?
If you are searching for information on sleep then you know that it is not a good idea to ignore sleep problems. Sleep loss can take a toll on your energy and performance. But over a prolonged period, these issues can lead to more serious psychological and physical problems.
Did you know that your sleep system is designed to reset your adrenaline system each night? Its our bodies way of recharging our emotional system. A lot of the tiredness you experience can be not from lack of sleep but from worry about not sleeping too much.
Signs of poor sleep quality:
- Regularly waking up more than once a night
- Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep when you go to bed
- Staying awake more than 20 minutes after waking up in the middle of the night
- Sleeping less than 85% of the time you are in bed.
How much sleep is enough?
For adults, six hours sleep is not enough. Studies show that the amount of sleep needed ranges by age. Please see the table below.
Signs it is time to address your sleep issues:
- Fatigued, tired, lacking energy
- Attention, concentration or memory problems
- Difficulties performing your day to day tasks
- Low mood or irritability
- Daytime sleepiness
- Worried about sleep or functioning the next day
Does sleep therapy work?
Recent research analysing the effectiveness of CBT for insomnia published in the June Annals of Internal Medicine showed that on average people went to sleep 19 minutes faster and stayed asleep 16 minutes longer after CBT.
How does sleep therapy work?
Our work with children, adolescents and adults experiencing sleep disorders/problems involves an in-depth assessment that helps the psychologist to differentiate between the various types of sleep, mental health and physical health problems. Educational material and a cognitive behavioural therapy approach enable the psychologist to provide information about sleep disorders and strategies such as light therapy and sleep restriction techniques to help improve your sleep patterns. During the course of therapy, your therapist will ask you to complete worksheets and practical tasks and identify thoughts, feelings and behaviours that need modification. They will work collaboratively with you to identify barriers to change and identify practical plans that you are able to implement. Lastly, your psychologist will assist you to identify a relapse prevention plan to help you maintain lasting changes. In some cases, pharmacotherapy treatments through your GP or referral to a sleep clinic may be required. The number of sessions range from 2 to 20 consultations and depend on the severity, length of time the problem has been in your life and whether other untreated conditions exist.
Our sleep therapy team
Natalie holds an Australian Psychological Society practice certificate in sleep psychology enabling her to help both children and adults with disordered sleep, through the assessment and management of common sleep disorders.
Kellie has completed studies in insomnia and the Australian Psychological Society sleep disorders units. She can help you with a cognitive behavioural sleep disorder treatment program.