, Insomnia


What is insomnia?

Many people occasionally experience difficulties sleeping. Usually, these brief disturbances are due to stress, travel, illness, or other temporary interruptions to your normal routine.

However, if you regularly have problems getting to sleep at night, going back to sleep if you wake during the night, and wake up feeling exhausted you may be suffering with insomnia. Sleep disorders often cause daytime fatigue and can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health.

Research shows that up between 7% and 15% of Australians report experiencing Insomnia. Insomnia is broadly defined as issues surrounding sleep. Some of these issues include difficulty or inability to fall asleep, frequent or prolonged night waking, waking too early and not being able to go back to sleep, and distress or difficulty in everyday functioning due to poor sleep.

, Insomnia
  • “Photo sourced from the Sleep Health Foundation.” 
There are many things you can do to identify the underlying causes of your sleep disorder and improve your sleep, health, and quality of life.

What causes insomnia?

There is no one clear cut cause of insomnia. Rather, insomnia is often caused and maintained by a unique combination of factors, such as physical and mental illness history, genetic vulnerability, stress, changes in life circumstances, medications, and poor sleep habits.

How to treat insomnia?

Living with insomnia can be challenging. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), is a structured, evidence-based treatment for insomnia. CBT-I focuses on teaching you to identify, understand, and challenge your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that may be contributing to your insomnia symptoms. This type of therapy increases your confidence in managing negative thoughts and behaviours that prevent sleep”.

1. Sleep restriction

Sleep restriction therapy targets the amount of time you spend lying in bed. Typically, individuals with insomnia spend hours lying awake in bed, unable to fall asleep. This treatment reduces the amount of time you spend in bed. Your time in bed is gradually increased over time to promote a more stabilised sleep routine. This approach is not recommended for everyone.

2. Stimulus control

The goal of stimulus control therapy is for you to associate bed with sleep. When people experience insomnia, they tend to start experiencing bed as a place they can’t sleep. This method requires that your bed only be used for sleep and sex, and that you may only get into bed when very tired. If you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes you should get out of bed, do something relaxing, and only return once you feel tired again.

3. Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy aims to identify, challenge, and ultimately alter any unhelpful thoughts or feelings surrounding your insomnia.

4. Sleep hygiene

This method of therapy is used to correct poor habits that may be negatively affecting your sleep and create good habits that positively affect you sleep. For more information on sleep hygiene, click here.

5. Relaxation training

Relaxation training is used to help reduce the anxiety and tension often experienced during the day and when lying awake in bed. This method teaches you how to relax both your body and mind using methods that can easily incorporated into your sleep and day-to-day routine. Common relaxation techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, mediation, imagery, and breathing exercises. At your first appointment at Talking Sleep, an initial consultation to individualise your treatment goals and to provide psychoeducation about sleep will be conducted. After that, therapy tends to be short term, ranging from 4-12 weeks. Therapy length depends on the severity of the sleep disorder and the goals of treatment.

Sleep Distribution by Age (Based on National Sleep Foundation Recommendations)

, Insomnia

Sign up for our health
news and announcements.