Sleep and Insomnia

Dr. Lisa Cottrell is a clinical psychologist at the Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Wauwatosa.

Dr. Lisa Cottrell is a clinical psychologist at the Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Wauwatosa.

National Sleep Awareness Week , March 2-9, 2014., is a public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep. Dr. Lisa Cottrell Ph.D., CBSM. Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, explains that there is effective treatment for insomnia.

How much sleep do we need?

Sleep need varies among individuals, but it generally changes as we age. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that school-age children (5-10 years) need 10-11 hours of sleep nightly, teens (10-17 years) need 8.5-9 hours and adults need 7-9 hours. According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of 6 hours or less of sleep per night in 2005-2007.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia, which is Latin for “no sleep,” is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is also used to describe the condition of waking up not feeling restored or refreshed. Insomnia is the most common sleep problem among Americans. According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders research at the National Institutes of Health, in any given year, 30 – 40% of adults have some symptoms of insomnia and 10 – 15% of adults report that they have chronic insomnia.

What causes Insomnia?

Insomnia may be caused by a variety of reasons: illnesses or underlying medical conditions; stress, anxiety or depression; certain medications; sleep disorders or issues related to sleep hygiene.

What are the effects of Insomnia?

The lack of sleep can be harmful to living a healthy life. Insufficient sleep can cause difficulty concentrating, lower your ability to learn, and impair performance of daily tasks. Sleep deficiency has been linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity. When an underlying medical condition is causing insomnia, the insomnia can exacerbate the condition and health and sleep problems further deteriorate.

How is Insomnia treated?

Insomnia can be treated successfully. While there are medications available to treat difficulty falling and staying asleep, there is also an evidence-based approach to treat insomnia that does not require the use of medication.

Cognitive-behavioral treatment of insomnia (CBTI) is a short-term psychotherapy that is based on scientific knowledge about sleep. CBTI has been shown in research to be as effective as medication to treat insomnia in the short-term and more effective than medication in the long-term. However, you do not need to stop other treatment or medication while participating in CBTI.

CBTI involves meeting with a psychologist trained in the method. It is a short-term (6-10 sessions) treatment approach that includes monitoring sleep patterns, changing sleep-related behaviors, managing the sleep environment and learning strategies to cope effectively with thoughts or worries that interfere with sleep. People who engage in CBTI report high satisfaction with the method and significant improvements in sleep.

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with sleep contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Dr. Lisa Cottrell Ph.D., CBSM. Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine is a clinical psychologist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Grafton, specializing in the behavioral and psychological treatment of sleep disorders. 

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