Therapy for Sleep Problems

Sleep is one of the most basic human needs. When that need isn’t being met, your whole life is impacted. You’re tired at work, at school, at home… and you’re reaching the end of your rope.

If you’re struggling with sleep, there is hope!

What causes issues with sleep?

Possible causes of sleep problems include…

  • Health problems
    • Asthma
    • Diabetes
    • Chronic pain
    • Acid reflux
    • Restless leg syndrome
  • Changes in medications
  • Substance use and addictions
  • Chronic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Life changes and transitions
    • Having a baby
    • Moving in with a partner
    • Grief and loss
    • Work-related stress

What kind of doctor should I see for sleep problems?

Start by making an appointment with your primary care doctor. Your primary may be able to help you themselves. Or, depending on the severity and cause of your sleep problems, they will give you a referral.

If a specialist is needed, your doctor will likely refer you to one of the following people:

  • Sleep specialist
  • Neurologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Pulmonologist (if the issue is related to asthma or sleep apnea)

What kinds of sleep problems can be helped by psychotherapy?

  • Insomnia
    • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
    • Insomnia can lead to daytime drowsiness, mood disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and irritability, to name a few effects.
    • For more information on insomnia, visit the insomnia page on WebMD.
  • Hypersomnia
    • Persistent daytime drowsiness
    • Hypersomnia can lead to mood disturbances, difficulty concentration, irritability, and difficulty carrying out usual responsibilites.
    • For more information on hypersomnia, check out the hypersomnia page on WebMD.
  • Narcolepsy
    • Chronic disorder which results in the tendency to fall asleep while going about daily activities.
    • Can lead to complications at work or school and in relationships (these complications are what can be treated in therapy, not narcolepsy itself).
    • See the Mayo Clinic page on narcolepsy for more info.
  • Nightmares
    • Upsetting or scary dreams
    • Can be related to night sweats, sleep paralysis, and waking up in the middle of the night
    • For more information on nightmares, visit the nightmares page on WebMD.

How would psychotherapy improve my sleep?

After months of bad sleep, our attitude towards sleep changes. Maybe you dread going to bed each night. Perhaps you feel hopeless that your sleep patterns will ever change.

Shifting your attitude towards sleep can actually help you get better rest. We’ll use interventions based in cognitive behavioral therapy to do that.

I’ll also provide practical tips that will help you fall asleep and sleep more peacefully.

Finally, for many people, sleep problems are related to anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, or addiction. If this is true for you, addressing these problems in psychotherapy may improve sleep naturally.

Where to?