Sleep is a key ingredient to maintaining our health, performance, and a fulfilling lifestyle.
It sounds simple, but the reality is that the challenges of life can cause stress, anxiety, and depression which often lead to disruption in sleep patterns, causing insomnia.
It might be that as soon as your head hits the pillow, you find that your mind begins to race. Or, you may find that you are waking up in the middle of the night, only to be unable to go back to sleep. The more you want to sleep, the more it seems to elude you!
What About Sleeping Pills?
Medications such as Xanax and Stilnox might seem like a “quick fix”, helping you to reclaim precious sleep when you are in need of it most – but they also come with the risk of developing dependency and addiction.
Becoming dependent on sleeping pills is an unworkable strategy in the long term, as not only can your body build up resistance to these medications, but reliance on them can lead to increased health problems and psychological symptoms. These in turn can have a negative impact on your work and relationships.
Therefore it is important to maintain control over the use of medication, by developing psychological and behavioural techniques to help you find sleep naturally, with the goal of reducing or even eliminating the need for medication altogether.
If you are tired of feeling tired, and longing to have better and more restful sleep, a psychologist can help you to beat insomnia without sleeping pills!
Why Can’t I Sleep?!
There are three main factors which can easily combine and lead to unhealthy sleep cycles:
- Stress, depression, and/or anxiety;
- Sleep disturbances and/or insomnia;
- Addiction and/or dependency to sleeping pills with side effects, such as Xanax (Alprazolam) and Stilnox (Ambien, Zolpidem) – which, incidentally, was banned at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Dream Catcher Model
From my work with many athletes, performers, and regular people, wanting to find a way to beat insomnia without sleeping pills, I have developed the Dream Catcher Model.
The Dream Catcher Model is designed to develop the skills to achieve sleep naturally, 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 sleeping pills and/or gaining control of your sleep again?
- Manage and reduce worry about not sleeping well eg “I will be so tired tomorrow”.
- Manage and reduce racing thoughts, worries, and memories at bedtime.
- Improve your sleep environment.
- Improve your sleep routine.
- Relaxation techniques and anxiety management.
- Drug and addiction/dependency education for managing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
The Dream Catcher Model provides you with practical tools to help you relax and calm your mind before going to bed, as well as manage any symptoms (such as cravings and anxiety) which may have arisen from over-reliance on sleeping pills. Together, we can target three main areas affecting your sleep:
1 – Thoughts
- Managing ideas, memories, and worries about the day just past, or about the day to come.
- Overcoming worries about not sleeping well and mental activity aimed at forcing sleep to come.
2 – Behaviours
- Education and advice on sleep hygiene – eg creating the right environment, and how to establish a sleep routine.
3 – Processes
- Education about how medication works in our minds and bodies, and how dependency develops.
- Skills to relax your body, manage cravings, and reduce anxiety related to tackling dependency.
The good news is that having a good night’s sleep naturally is NOT an impossible dream! Whether you live in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast, make an appointment with me to discover the secrets to a good night’s sleep, and how to beat insomnia without sleeping pills.
Our 2017 New Location!
We are excited to announce that Summit Performance Psychology has teamed up with the world renowned Gold Coast Physio & Sport Health Clinic, directed by Britt Caling, Sport Physio for the Australian Olympic Team Rio 2016.
As of late January 2017 the Summit Performance Psychology HQ and clinic will be located within Gold Coast Physio & Sport Health with clinic locations in both Runaway Bay and Burleigh Heads Qld. Click here to learn more about our new location.
In addition to we will continue to provide sport & performance psychology services at our Tweed Heads locations, and online via Skype. You can find out more about our services here, or get in contact with us today.