Category: Q & A

Insomnia sufferers can improve their sleep by spending less time in bed

Q&A: Sleep Efficiently for a Better Night’s Rest

A reader—I’ll call her Chantal—wrote in June with questions about insomnia and sleep restriction. A few weeks ago I heard from her again:

I’m now in week 6 of sleep restriction and I have to say my sleep is getting better. I mostly sleep for 5.5 hours a night. When I started it was 3.

But the last couple of nights, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and had trouble falling back to sleep. I have no idea why I’m waking up. Do you have any tips for staying asleep?

Can CBT for insomnia be used if you have bipolar disorder?

Q&A: Can Insomnia in Bipolar Disorder Be Treated with CBT?

Last week Dan wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac with questions about cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). Dan has bipolar disorder, and because of this diagnosis, his sleep doctor had reservations about him undergoing CBT-I.

So Dan tried a modified version for 2 weeks. His sleep did not improve. He was wondering if he would have to use sleeping pills and if he should continue with CBT-I on his own.

insomnia and daytime sleepiness may actually be sleep apnea

Q & A: When Sleep Apnea Looks Like Insomnia

Keisha was wondering whether to have a sleep study.

“I asked my doctor to give me something for my insomnia,” she wrote, “but he wants me to have a sleep study first. He thinks I might have sleep apnea. I don’t think I do. I don’t snore (as far as I know). I wake up a lot at night but I’m not short of breath or gasping for air.

“Besides, how could I get any sleep at all with those wires attached to my head! You say sleep studies aren’t helpful for people with insomnia. So what’s your opinion here? Should I have a sleep study or will it just be a waste of my time?”

cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, must I give up sleeping pills?

Q&A: During CBT, Do I Have to Stop My Sleep Meds?

A long-term user of sleeping pills wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac with questions about cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia. “Before I go through CBT, will I have to give up my sleeping pills? I’d like to get off them eventually, but every time I think of doing it I freak out.”

Recently I looked into research on insomnia sufferers going through CBT while at the same time tapering off (or reducing reliance on) sleeping pills. What I found was encouraging.

Q&A: Sleep Restriction: Tempted to Give Up

Jessica recently wrote with concerns about sleep restriction.

I’m on Day 6 of sleep restriction and I don’t think it’s working. The first 3 nights were miserable. I kept looking at the clock and thinking, just 4 more hours to sleep, just 3 more, just 2 . . . I had so much anxiety I hardly slept at all!

Am I just going to have to resign myself to insomnia for the rest of my life? Honestly I’m on the verge of giving up.

tart cherry juice may improve sleep

Q & A: Tart Cherry Juice for Better Sleep

“Tart cherry juice is supposed to help with sleep,” a reader wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac a few days ago. “But is there any real evidence for this? Usually I don’t pay much attention to these claims. I assume they’re made by industries hyping their products. Anyway, if certain foods COULD help control insomnia, wouldn’t we know that by now?”

A few studies do suggest that tart cherry juice may be helpful to people with insomnia.

Q&A: What Is Melatonin Replacement Therapy?

I’ve just heard of melatonin replacement therapy, a reader wrote last week to Ask The Savvy Insomniac, and I’m wondering if I should look into it. I’m 61. I never used to have problems with insomnia but now I wake up a lot at night. Over-the-counter melatonin does nothing for me. Is the melatonin used in replacement therapy somehow different?

Q&A: The Why’s of Winter Insomnia, and What to Do

If there’s a seasonal pattern to your insomnia, reduced light exposure could be the culprit. People in northerly latitudes are exposed to little daylight in the winter, and this can have a negative effect on circadian rhythms and worsen sleep.