Rarely do I hear someone say, “I just did this one thing and my sleep now is great!” At least, it is rare that I hear that after a little while. Almost anything can help sleep for a few nights, or even a month or two. The effectiveness of sleeping medications, various herbs, foods, etc., comes and goes. Sleeping pills are notorious for this, for both physical and psychological reasons. CPAP is one possible exception to all of this, although success with CPAP is usually tied to other general improvements in health (weight loss, sleep hygiene, etc.). For long-term sleep health – truly overcoming insomnia – a “big picture” approach must be adopted. All factors that perpetuate sleep troubles must be addressed. And perhaps more importantly, a series of mini “experiments” must be conducted. Simply put, there is no way to know precisely which behavioral or cognitive changes might result in the most significant improvement in sleep. If someone tells you that they know the one thing that fixes sleep forever, run 🙂
This opinion might sound a bit odd from someone who recently created a powerful, revolutionary, sleep-training smartphone app. The SleepQ app for iPhone provides a convenient and affordable method of behavioral sleep training shown to be highly effective in Australian sleep laboratories. Specifically, the SleepQ app offers a highly efficient way to apply the most effective part of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). But even the best cognitive/behavioral strategies have been shown to only improve sleep about 50% – 60% on average. There is so much about sleep that is still not known, and may never be, that such a modest improvement with CBTi is understandable.
The chance of getting more improvement in your sleep can be greatly enhanced through guidance, or coaching. Think of an exercise analogy: you can read about various techniques, and then embark on your own. Unfortunately, as many of us know, attaining and keeping fitness gains are difficult. Let’s face it: we are not experts in fitness. And the support and encouragement of others can be a major perpetuating factor for exercise. In other words, fitness classes and gym memberships tend to be more effective and used more than treadmills in the den.
Sleep can be challenging, elusive. When the decision to “work” on sleep has been made, knowing where to start can be confusing. Sleep can be very personal. We can feel awkward discussing it with others, even with our doctor. We don’t want to take sleeping pills, but we can become desperate for help. Once you have spoken with your doctor to address medical conditions that may contribute to insomnia, I may have help for you!
At www.sleeponQ.com, I offer three options for help:
1) SleepQ app for iPhone – This is a great starting point. Doing a little sleep training around bedtime, especially following a rough night of sleep, gives you an active way to work on your sleep. SleepQ can effectively and rapidly increase your ability to get to sleep, reducing worry about sleep.
2) Online Sleep Coaching – Programs like Skype have created an amazing way to meet. As I mentioned before, sleep difficulties can be personally challenging. Many of my clients comment that they really like the the online coaching format. With the assurance that I will not be prescribing a sleeping pill (I’m not a doctor), I find my clients to be highly receptive to the proven behavioral sleep strategies I present. Also, it’s a great way to explain how to integrate the SleepQ app into an overall sleep health program.
3) Sleep Health Retreats – New this year! I’m really excited to be offering this most effective level of sleep wellness. The format is 2-nights, with a small group atmosphere. The highly supportive environment is designed to enable people to experience all of the cognitive and behavioral sleep strategies shown to improve sleep. And the crowning feature is your ability to do sleep training in the evening with me available to guide you in real time. No iPhone? No problem! I even have developed a “no-tech” method so everyone can realize the proven effects of active sleep training. Sign up today for the first sleep retreat, in central Oregon!