If you have been suffering from insomnia and longing for better sleep, take heart – help is at hand, according to Loganholme Psychologist Abra Garfield …
Insomniacs commonly find that as soon as their head hits the pillow, their minds begin to race. Or, they find themselves waking, unable to go back to sleep in the middle of the night.
If you are tired of feeling tired and longing to have better and more restful sleep, a psychologist can help you to treat you insomnia– without resorting to medication!
Causes of Insomnia
These three factors can easily combine and lead to unhealthy sleep cycles:
- Stress, depression, and/or anxiety;
- Sleep disturbances and/or insomnia;
- Addiction and/or dependency to prescription medication with side effects: eg. Xanax (Alprazolam) for anxiety and Stilnox (Ambien, Zolpidem) for sleep, which was banned at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sleep is a key ingredient to maintaining our health, performance, and a fulfilling lifestyle.
However, stress, anxiety and/or depression from life challenges often lead to disruption in sleep patterns and can cause insomnia.
Although medications such as Xanax and Stilnox can quickly assist people in reclaiming precious hours of sleep when they need them most, they also come with the risk of developing dependency and addiction.
Dependency on medication is an unworkable control strategy for maintaining sleep, as it can lead to increased health problems and psychological symptoms, affecting one’s relationships and work.
Therefore it is important to maintain control over the use of medication, by developing psychological and behavioural techniques to improve sleep, with the end goal being to reduce or eliminate the need for medication.
The Dream Catcher Model
The Dream Catcher Model is designed to develop these skills, and can apply to anyone. This program does not encourage people to go against professional advice from their GP on the use of medication, but does encourage open dialogue with them regarding the risks and safe dosage.
So what is involved in kicking a dependency on these pills and/or gaining control of one’s sleep again?
You Deserve Better Sleep!
The Dream Catcher Model developed by Abra Garfield develops knowledge and skills in six key areas:
- Manage and reduce worry about not sleeping well eg. “I will be so tired tomorrow”.
- Manage and reduce worry, thoughts, and memories at bedtime.
- Improve sleep environment.
- Improve sleep routine.
- Relaxation techniques and anxiety management.
- Drug and addiction/dependency education for managing cravings and withdrawal
The Dream Catcher Model aims to develop the individual’s knowledge and skills (psychological and behavioural), so that they can relax and calm the mind before bedtime, as well as manage symptoms (such as cravings and anxiety) related to dependency on medication.
These two goals are met through targeting three areas with education and skill development:
1 – Thoughts
- Manage ideas, memories, and worries about the day just past or about tomorrow.
- Worry about not sleeping well and mental activity aimed at forcing sleep to come.
2 – Behaviours
- Education and advice on sleep environment and establishing a sleep routine.
3 – Processes
- Education about how medication works in our minds and bodies, and how dependency develops.
- Skills to relax the body, manage cravings, and reduce anxiety related to tackling dependency.
You deserve better sleep! I would love to help you find the secrets to a good night’s sleep and overcome your struggles with insomnia.
Author: Abra Garfield, BPsych, MPsych (sport & exercise), MAPS; Medicare ATAPS provider.
Abra Garfield is an endorsed Sport and Performance Psychologist, with a passion for helping others to achieve optimal performance whether on the sports field, in the classroom, home or office. By drawing on a range of therapeutic techniques including Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Motivational Interviewing, Abra helps many people with goal setting, motivation, and overcoming anxiety.
Abra is the Principal Sport Psychologist and founder of Summit Performance Psychology. Visit the Summit Performance Psychology website to learn more or like us on Facebook to receive Summit Performance Psychology Articles and event updates.
Psychologist Abra Garfield has moved.
Find his details on his website: Summit Sport & Performance Psychology.