Have you ever had those sleepless nights when you are wondering how you can get even a wink of sleep? It turns out that there are some tips that can help increase your overall quality of sleep.
We are here today with our newest Toronto psychotherapist Montana Vascotto, B.A., M.A., R.P. (Q), who recently joined our team at Greystones Health. She has experience in clinical settings at the Thompson Anxiety Clinic at Sunnybrook Health Sciences; Mental Health Department at North York General Hospital; and the Cognition and Psychopathology research lab at Ryerson University. She will be giving us advice on how to increase sleep quality through using different techniques explained below.
What are the top tips and tricks that you would give to anyone who is trying to increase the quality of their sleep?
“It’s important to identify what is currently going on and what your sleep habits are as of today. This is because in order to know what to change, you have to know what is currently going on first. It is important to become more aware of sleep patterns and sleep hygiene.”
However, how do you do that and become more self aware? Montana suggests using a sleep diary which you can form with different questions in terms of ‘what are you doing before you sleep?’. If you want prompts, Montana suggests visiting therapistaid which is a website that has sleep diaries that you can print and fill out. “Do this for at least a week and be consistent, as the more information you have the more accurate it will be.”
Some other questions to ask yourself would be what else are you doing in the bedroom? Where are you sleeping (family room, etc)? Do you do work in your bedroom? If you have a desk in your room and you work there, this often associates the bedroom with work and not sleep. You sometimes need someone to help you with this process, but you can self monitor to help out yourself (which is step one of the process).
Step two of this process would be dependent on whether you’re seeing a professional for this or doing this by yourself.
Look at all of your answers to these questions-do you see any patterns? There is also an option of specialized CBT for insomnia. This can help you look at the connections between your habits and your sleep patterns. You can see what you’re doing before sleep, address thoughts, restructure, and modify it to be more helpful, balanced and realistic.
Sometimes we can get ourselves into thinking traps which do not serve us a purpose. In the realm of sleep it’s important to try to understand what thoughts are pertaining to that and what is going on in a person’s life.
Next week we will be looking at some more techniques and advice from our psychotherapist Montana in order to help increase quality of sleep.