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Disruptions in normal sleep are never fun. Even when you can get back to sleep within a reasonable timeframe it can take your body a long time to achieve restful sleep. Just a few interruptions may result in your waking up feeling groggy and poorly rested. Of course, it’s perfectly normal to occasionally experience inadequate sleep, but it should not be a consistent experience. If you’re waking up during the night several times per week, then you may want to speak with your local insomnia specialist in Los Angeles.

Why Do I Wake Up in the Middle of the Night? Identifying Insomnia

Many people mistakenly believe that insomnia is only used to describe a condition that causes people to struggle with initiating sleep. In truth, there are many different types of insomnia that can affect your ability to fall asleep, your ability to stay asleep, and your ability to consolidate restful sleep.

Acute Insomnia:

In many cases the insomnia is acute. That means that it’s severe but pretty short-lived. People experiencing acute insomnia are usually experiencing high levels of stress as a result of external stimuli. Acute insomnia usually lasts about a month and resolves once the external stressor is no longer an issue for the patient. The date of the stressful event may have passed, or the patient may have adjusted to the changes that were stressing them out.

Transient Insomnia:

Another common form of insomnia is referred to as transient insomnia. This type of insomnia usually last about a week. Rather than being caused by an external stimuli, transient insomnia is more likely to be caused by internal factors. Mental illnesses such as depression are often linked with transient insomnia. However, you may experience the condition simply because you’ve changed your sleeping environment due to travel, moving, etc.

Chronic Insomnia:

Chronic insomnia is the rarest form of the condition. To be considered chronic, you have to have experienced symptoms for at least a month several times per week. For the most part chronic insomnia evolves from one of the lesser forms. The patient may be having trouble adjusting to external stressors, or they may have a mental illness that is interfering with their normal sleep cycle.

Other Reasons You May Wake in the Middle of the Night

Although the stress of our modern world makes acute and transient insomnia relatively common, there are a number of behavioral factors that could also cause you to lose sleep at night. If you’re struggling to achieve restful and consistent sleep, then you may want to do a quick audit of your habits to make sure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot. Here are just a few habits that could be causing you to lose some shut-eye.

  • Consuming stimulants like caffeine or tobacco less than eight hours before bed
  • Keeping a variable sleep schedule
  • Using electronic devices less than an hour before bed
  • Consuming alcohol before bed
  • Exposing yourself to uncomfortable levels of light, temperature, or sound

If any of these sound familiar, then you’re suffering from what is known as poor sleep hygiene. In order to feel well-rested, you’ll want to establish a routine that provides your body with all the right cues to promote deep sleep.

When Behavioral and Environmental Changes Don’t Help

When nothing you try is working, it may be time to seek professional help. At Cognitive Behavior Associates, trained professionals can help you to unpack the cause(s) or your sleep disturbances. We directly address the cause rather than focusing on medicating the result. So cognitive behavior therapy has shown better results and far less dependency on sleep aids. With a little work and dedication, you’ll be back to sleeping like a baby in no time.

We are currently living through one of the most challenging years in recent world history. The combination of economic distress, isolation, and the widespread loss of human life has naturally resulted in increased rates of mental illness across the board. However, it would be disingenuous to suggest that this trend is new. The truth is that organizations devoted to addressing mental illness in the United States have noted for several years that the rates of mental illness are continuously increasing. And we want to look at the link between sleep disorders and mental illness.

 

For the best cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in Los Angeles, visit CBA. We provide treatment for a range of disorders, with high rates of success. When you visit our insomnia specialist in Beverly Hills, you can get back to a better quality of life.

Link between Sleep Disorders and Mental Illness

In 2018, Mental Health America found that 19% of American adults experienced mental illness that year. That is a 1.5 million person increase over the previous year. These same trends appear to replicate themselves among youth in the United States. Both are matched by increased rates of suicide ideation. Therefore, it is clear that mental illness is a prevalent and growing issue in the United States, one that we need to tackle to protect the health of the community.

The Chicken and the Egg

Previously, it was widely believed that mental health disorders were largely responsible for the fact that an astounding percentage of mental health patients also suffer from a sleep disorder. Continued research has clarified that perception, leading scientists to see the relationship as far more complex. Essentially, the link between sleep disorders and mental illness is a circular one, much like the proverbial chicken and the egg.

Researchers now realize that mental illness and sleep disorders are inextricably linked and often reinforce one another. This reinforcement may actually explain why mental health disorders can be so difficult to overcome. Lack of sleep makes it difficult to regulate our thoughts and emotions. Then the resulting struggle makes it more difficult to sleep. For many people, this is a serious problem that can make their struggle feel impossible. Fortunately, there are research-driven approaches that can help to relieve this burden.

Getting the Help You Need

Cognitive behavior therapy is a complex approach to treatment that works to help patients recognize harmful thoughts while developing coping mechanisms. This form of therapy can be paired with medication and additional counseling if appropriate. Still, your cognitive behavioral therapist’s primary aim will be to have you examine your own thoughts critically.

Analyzing your own anxieties and fears is a helpful way of undermining their connection to reality. Your therapist will help you isolate the thoughts that trigger your symptoms based on your mental illness’s nature. From there, you can discuss what validity those thoughts have, if any. By learning to recognize the thoughts and feelings that aggravate your mental illness, you can start deconstructing them to build a healthier relationship with yourself.

Applying Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Sleep Disorders

At Cognitive Behavior Associates, the staff understands that mental illness and sleep disorders go hand in hand. Their goal is to treat the whole person and that includes resolving sleep disorders that may make it harder for you to recover from your mental illness. Insomnia is the most common complaint, but there are several sleep disorders that commonly coexist with mental illness.

Working on Thoughts

For the most part, the general approach of cognitive behavior therapy can apply directly to patients suffering from insomnia. The CBA experts recognize that the harmful thoughts you have are often most clear as you lie awake in bed. However, there are some additional forms of treatment that your therapist may suggest in addition to your CBT treatment.

Programmable daylight lamps and blue light filtering lenses are some of the most common. These are useful because they limit the effect of external stimuli and maximize your natural circadian rhythm. Regardless of what approach you choose, CBT will give you everything you need to tackle your insomnia and your mental illness at the same time.

There is nothing quite like waking up refreshed after a good night’s rest. Unfortunately, about 35% of Americans regularly miss out on that opportunity. Through a combination of living in a high-stress society and practicing poor sleep hygiene, millions of Americans lay awake in bed every night hoping sleep will come to them. But treating insomnia without medication is not only possible, but highly effective.

As a result, an entire sub-category of the pharmaceutical industry now, exists to meet the widespread demand for sleep-inducing medications. Some are habit-forming, while others are easier to use without the risk of addiction. These medications are an excellent option for occasional use, perhaps after a particularly stressful day. None of them are intended for daily use over a prolonged period. So it is important to find a long-term solution.

We provide the best cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia Los Angeles has around.

Identifying Insomnia

Everyone has some restless nights, but there are specific parameters that we can use to identify chronic insomnia. Generally speaking, chronic insomnia occurs at least three days a week for at least three consecutive months. If the patient hasn’t had the opportunity to get adequate sleep due to a demanding job or substance abuse is involved, then it is possible that the insomnia is a symptom of lifestyle choices rather than existing as a condition itself. In these cases, the patient will need to address underlying factors first.

Treating Insomnia without Medication: Analyzing Your Sleep Hygiene

For those with stubborn insomnia, it may be beneficial to first examine your daily practices, including sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to the regular practice of habits that promote reliable sleeping patterns. These include going to sleep at a predetermined hour every day of the week and waking up at the same time every day. Good sleep hygiene also includes avoiding electronics one hour before bed and avoiding caffeinated products after noon.

Of course, a fresh change will not have an immediate effect. If you have found holes in your sleep hygiene, you should do whatever you can to address them. It won’t happen overnight, so you should aim to make gradual changes to your routine. Adjusting your habits could take several weeks, and it may take several weeks more to take full effect. At six to eight weeks, if you’ve experienced no change, then you should consider a more targeted approach.

Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Sleep hygiene is highly personal, and it doesn’t work in the same way for everyone. For people with anxiety and depression, it can be exceptionally difficult to overcome insomnia. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a research-driven treatment that strives to help patients analyze their own thoughts and behaviors to better understand the nature of their insomnia.

In many ways cognitive behavior therapy is related to sleep hygiene but does more to target mental health complications that could be contributing to the patient’s sleeping experience. Those who specialize in cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia aim to help patients target the negative cognitions and behaviors that have developed around sleep due to prolonged frustration and sleep deprivation. Overall, this approach to therapy has proven highly effective. A full 100% of patients in multiple studies noted improved sleep, and 75% achieved a normal sleeping schedule, getting at least 7 hours of continuous sleep per night.

Making the Decision to Pursue Treatment

Sleep deprivation can have serious side effects with the potential to impair cognitive function and ability to handle mental or emotional stress. If you are experiencing the symptoms of chronic insomnia, then you should seriously consider receiving professional treatment. At Cognitive Behavior Associates, you may receive treatment in person or through telepsychotherapy. These options allow patients to choose how they would like to approach treatment and move towards their goals.

According to the Sleep Foundation, depression affects around 20 million Americans. Still, many experts believe that depression remains an under-reported condition. On the one hand, the long-surviving negative attitude surrounding mental illness is a contributing factor. But, the subtle nature of depression itself is responsible for patients going undiagnosed for months or even years. And, insomnia and depression often appear together.

Depression is characterized by its gradual onset and the mixed appearance of symptoms. The result is that it can be difficult to know that you have it before it becomes severe. This is true even if you are the one affected by depression. Recognizing your depression can be tougher than you might expect.

The difficulty of diagnosis becomes worse when loss of self-worth is a common symptom. As a result, many individuals with depression are too worried about wasting another person’s time. They see their problems as insignificant. This mindset prevents them from seeking the help they need. 

Factoring in Sleep

There are many symptoms regularly associated with depression. These can include physical symptoms like tiredness and changes in weight. But the more dangerous ones are mental. These include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, loss of self-worth, and suicidal thoughts. 

Almost all depression patients experience one symptom: sleep disorders. You can have trouble sleeping, called insomnia. Or, you might find yourself sleeping for extended periods, called hypersomnia. In either case, sleep disorders are repeatedly associated with depression. Experts see it both as a contributing cause and a core symptom, according to Duke Health

What the Research Says

In fact, people who experience constant insomnia are ten times more likely to develop depression. An academic article in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience comments on sleep disturbance. It says that it is “prevalent…and often unresolved by treatment” in cases of existing depression. 

In plain English, sleep disorders contribute to the start of depression. Not only that, but they make it worse over time. Unfortunately, current treatment plans often fail to treat the sleep disorder. Doing this opens the patient up to continued periods of depression until you can address the sleep disorder fully.

The Added Trouble with Insomnia and Depression

All sleep disorders have the potential to interfere with quality of life. Hypersomnia can negatively impact your ability to hold a job or succeed in school, but insomnia has yet another effect. 

Being unable to sleep prevents your body from getting enough rest. So, first, your depression affects your interactions with other people. Then it limits your ability to focus. Finally, you’re also fighting the added effects of exhaustion. 

How Common is Insomnia?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that chronic sleeplessness affects 10-35 percent of the US. Obviously, people all over feel its effects. Research shows that sleep loss has noted effects on attention and working memory. This serves to compound already existing symptoms of depression. 

In addition, sleep loss from insomnia impairs physical parts of the brain. Specifically, it harms the brain’s waste disposal symptom. What this means is patients become vulnerable to physical brain diseases. Such illnesses can even further weaken their ability to manage the symptoms of depression as they age. And they are difficult to treat.

Start With Sleep

Even if you are currently managing your depression, don’t ignore the importance of treating your sleep disorder. Don’t think of it as a separate entity. It can be contributing to your condition. But, your condition also might cause it. 

You may need a small team to help you through this, and that is okay. 

Depression is a multi-faceted disease. So, it naturally requires a wide range of expertise to treat it on all fronts. At Cognitive Behavior Associates, your care providers work with your doctor and therapist to manage your condition from multiple angles. Such an approach gives you the best chance at extended recovery.

For anyone reading this who hasn’t found aid, there are people ready to help. Please call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Hotline at 1-800-662-4357. 

If you are contemplating self-harm, remember your life does matter. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.