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Tips for healthy sleep habits from Boston health psychologist

August 3, 2015|Health Psychology

Sleep Well with CBT-I

Stay positive about your sleep and stick to healthy sleep habits! These were two major take home messages from the recent Massachusetts Psychology Association-sponsored workshop on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I.)

Five Commonwealth Psychology Associates psychologists recently trekked out to Marlborough, MA for a day of learning about sleep and treatment to improve insomnia. The importance of maintaining balanced thoughts about sleep was emphasized by Insomnia Specialist Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs, who led the day-long training. He explained that it is much more helpful to think, “I’ll be okay even if I don’t get the full eight hours tonight” rather than look at the clock and think “Oh no! Why haven’t I fallen asleep already? I won’t be able to function at all tomorrow!” He also discussed the benefits of staying committed to practicing helpful sleep habits, including: setting a fixed wake time, not watching TV in bed, and increasing exposure to sunlight in the early morning.

And how effective is it? 70-80% of patients show significant improvements in sleep with CBT-I. Truly exceptional!

So check out Dr. Jacobs’ book (noted below) for specific ways to overcome unhelpful self-talk (referred to as “NSTs”—Negative Sleep Thoughts) and improve overall bedtime behaviors and sleep hygiene. Sleep well & sweet dreams!

Additional Info:

A Really Great Read:  Practice strategies in Dr. Jacobs’ book “Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed at Harvard Medical School” to optimize thoughts and behaviors related to sleep and get some amazing ZZZs.

Online Extras:  For more super sleep-related information take a look at two fantastic resources:  APA’s “Why sleep is important and what happens when you don’t get enough” and Mayo Clinic’s “Sleep Tips: 7 Steps to Better Sleep.

Encouraging Action:  What is one habit you could start tonight to develop a more relaxing bedtime routine?

Hint: Aim to engage in a peaceful activity for at least 15-30 minutes before heading to your bedroom to sleep (i.e., reading, completing a puzzle, taking a warm bath) and avoid the use of any technology/hand-held screens or stressful activities. You’ll likely enjoy more restful, restorative sleep if you help yourself wind down the day in a pleasant, calming way before bedtime.

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