In August 2018, Bill was admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack and this triggered an intense period of insomnia that led to progressively worse sleep. Bill soon found himself following a long list of pre-sleep rituals that did not improve his sleep but did lead to more sleep-related worry. Fortunately, Bill was told about cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and was able to get his sleep back on track. In this episode, Bill tells us how his insomnia developed, all the ways he tried unsuccessfully to improve his sleep, and he shares the specific techniques that he found to be most helpful for improving his sleep.
Dr. Jade Wu is a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist at Duke University School of Medicine. In this episode, Jade and I discuss a number of concerns that are common among people with chronic insomnia — we talk about how much sleep we need, whether we can lose our ability to sleep, whether insomnia is caused by a chemical imbalance in the body, whether chronic insomnia causes any serious health problems, and whether we have any control over the negative impact insomnia can have on our lives. My aim with this episode is to help change the way you think about sleep and insomnia. I hope this will help reduce the intensity of any worry or anxiety that might be making it more difficult for you to improve your sleep and encourage you to pursue CBT-I so you can enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life.
After trying to implement cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) techniques with the help of a book, Jeff continued to struggle — until he started implementing CBT-I techniques with the ongoing support and guidance of a sleep coach (me!). In this episode, Jeff shares the specific CBT-I techniques he found most helpful and why working with a coach proved to be the most effective way to recover sleep confidence, get rid of sleep-related worry and anxiety, and enjoy better sleep.
Eileen is a registered nurse of almost 30 years. She was always a light sleeper who felt that she needed perfect conditions for sleep to happen. After becoming a parent she started to get less sleep and this triggered more sleep-related stress and worry that made sleep even more difficult. Before long, Eileen became totally focussed on sleep and soon developed the mistaken belief that she just couldn’t sleep. After seeking help from her physician, Eileen ended up on Ambien — a drug she took almost every day for 15 years. In this episode, Eileen describes how insomnia became part of her identity and how she went from constantly worrying about sleep and struggling with sleep to someone who now sleeps very well without sleeping pills.
Dr. Steve Orma is a clinical psychologist and specialist in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety. He is the author of the book Stop Worrying and Go To Sleep: How to Put Insomnia to Bed for Good, and he provides online treatment for insomnia and anxiety. In this episode, we talk about how Steve got through his own insomnia using cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) techniques and the common challenges people face when implementing CBT-I techniques. The fact of the matter is that, in the short term, CBT-I techniques can be hard to implement — but if you are committed and consistent, your sleep will improve.
Sara lived with insomnia for a year and resorted to sleeping pills because she didn’t know how to improve her sleep. Luckily, Sara did discover cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia — and after just eight weeks of implementing CBT-I techniques, she went from averaging four hours of sleep each night to six hours of sleep each night. One year later, Sara now averages seven hours of sleep and no longer takes sleeping pills. In this episode, we’ll learn more about how Sara got her sleep back on track and how she regained confidence in her ability to sleep.
Like many people, David struggled with the odd night of poor sleep every now and again — but three years ago a night of absolutely no sleep led to sleep-related worry and the fear that he had lost the ability to sleep. This led to more nights of bad sleep (and many nights of no sleep whatsoever) and this compounded the problem. Eventually, David discovered that it was his worry and obsession with sleep that was perpetuating his insomnia. His recognition of this, along with the implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), acceptance, and mindfulness techniques helped him get his sleep back on track.
Nick Wignall is a clinical psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders and insomnia. He’s also a writer interested in how we can use the tools and insights of behavioral science to better achieve our personal growth and development goals. In this episode, we talk about insomnia as an anxiety disorder rather than as a sleep disorder, the pros and cons of acceptance and commitment therapy for insomnia, why sleep hygiene is rarely helpful, and why CBT-I is typically the best option for people with chronic insomnia.
Rose started struggling with sleep at the age of just 12 years old. One bad night of sleep triggered a vicious cycle of ever-increasing sleep-related worry and anxiety, and ever-worsening sleep. At the age of 18, the added stress of exams led to panic attacks and as little as two to three hours of fragmented sleep each night. In this episode, Rose shares how she addressed her sleep issues so that she now feels far more energetic during the day, sees sleep in a far more positive light, and actually looks forward to sleep at night.
Daniel Erichsen is a sleep physician of eight years and is currently practicing in Eugene, Oregon. He is also the man behind BedTyme, a CBT-I based iPhone app, host of the Insomnia Insight YouTube channel and podcast, and author of two books; Sleep 101 and Why We Don’t Sleep. In this episode, Daniel explains why he is such a believer in CBT-I and why eight hours of sleep is not an appropriate goal to aim for. We also discuss the barriers that make it harder for people with insomnia to improve their sleep, how to cope with setbacks when implementing CBT-I techniques, and the problem with melatonin and other supplements for insomnia.