Dealing with a disease is already a challenge, but when you combine it with sleep troubles, things can get very difficult indeed. Not only can a lack of sleep leave you feeling tired all the time, but it can also seriously affect your ability to do any healing. Insomnia can even become as much a health problem as the original health condition that triggered it.
If you find yourself in this predicament, here’s a health tip that could help you rest a little more easily: learn some self-help techniques. Researchers at Loughborough University in England recently evaluated the effectiveness of a self-help cognitive behavioral intervention in improving sleep quality in older adults.
A group of 193 individuals aged 55 to 87, with long-term conditions and chronic insomnia symptoms, participated in the study. The participants were divided into two groups. Self-help participants received six consecutive booklets, at weekly intervals, providing structured advice on important components of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. These strategies included self-monitoring, sleep restriction, stimulus control procedures, and cognitive strategies. This group also had access to a telephone helpline. Control group participants received a single sheet of advice detailing standard sleep hygiene measures.
When the researchers measured sleep outcomes, they found those in the self-help group showed significant improvements after treatment. Most treated participants (73%) said they would recommend the self-help program to others. The researchers concluded that self-help techniques could offer a practical way for seniors to improve insomnia symptoms associated with chronic disease.
The particular techniques used by the study’s participants all contributed to the improvement. Sleep restriction is a technique where you learn to spend less time in bed. By doing this, the bedroom becomes more of a welcoming space instead of being associated with sleep anxieties. If you need to rest during the day, try to choose a room other than the bedroom to do so.
You can also monitor what you do before you sleep, and your approach to falling asleep. Make sure your room is quiet and dark at night. And, don’t forget to try a few relaxation techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises.
For more health tips on how to sleep soundly, read this great article.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Study Shows Self-Help Methods Can Eliminate Insomnia
Morgan, K., et al., “Self-help treatment for insomnia symptoms associated with chronic conditions in older adults: a randomized controlled trial,” J Am Geriatr Soc. October 2012; 60(10): 1,803-10.