A Good Book About Insomnia Treatment
Click the picture above, you will see this book in Amazon. Audio Book Version is available through iTune store:
This is a great book about insomnia, and we shared it in our 11/2017 book club.
At beginning of this book, they raised an interesting question:
“What's your recipe for good sleep?“
Interestingly, there are no such recipe for people who have no sleep problems. For those who suffer insomnia, they are good at making long lists and explaining what methods may help people sleep better. Ironically, even with such a long list, they still cannot help themselves with their insomnia.
There are three "key ingredients" for a good night of sleep, according to this book:
A regular and optimally timed sleep opportunity (sleep window)
A strong drive for sleep
Quiet mind and body, comfortable sleep environment
Authors of this book recommend readers use sleep log to track their own sleep patterns in order to understand themselves better. They also explained how we can work hard to improve these three ingredients.
One important sleep rule is:
"You should be sleeping for about 85 percent of the time that you are in bed."
That is to say, quality is more important than quantity. Do you want to have 6 hours of good sleep, or 8 hours of poor sleep? The authors really emphasized having more deep sleep rather than having more time on bed.
85% refers to our sleep efficiency. If our sleep efficiency is too low, that means we may spend too much time turning around on our beds to think about things rather than sleeping. Therefore, we can consider to double check our sleep schedule and consider whether we should reduce the amount of time we spent on the bed. On the other hand, if our sleep efficiency is too high (>90%), that may refer to our tendency to fall asleep once our head hits the pillow. We may suffer from lack of sleep, and may consider increasing our time on the bed.
This book also talks about how to understand our own body clock type, how to train our brain to associate sleep with relaxation, how to wind down our body and mind in preparation for sleep, especially for people who suffer from long-term insomnia.
Many times, what intensifies the symptoms of our insomnia, are the non-stopping thoughts in our head, our worries about life stress, or our worries about sleep itself. Good news is, these barriers to sleep could be processed by psychologists. Actually, psychotherapy method (CBT for insomnia) has been recognized by the first-line treatment for insomnia in America now.
This book also comments on our common misunderstanding toward sleep. For example:
We have to sleep more than 8 hours.
We should go to bed around 10-11pm.
If we have a poor night of sleep, our function will be impaired the next day.
We should never wake up during the middle of the night.
Actually, NONE of these beliefs are accurate. These misunderstandings are the root of our sleep problems sometimes.
We can try these tips given out by the book to handle these mental traps, for example:
Schedule a worry time
Express our feelings and thoughts through journalling.
Challenge our automatic thoughts.
Overall, this book is an easy quick but good read. However, the book cannot replace a professional. If you suffer from severe sleep problems and do not experience any improvement after reading this book, please make an appointment in your local sleep center for further evaluations.
At the end of this website, I attached the link for a free sleep app which was developed by VA psychologist. You can track your sleep patterns, or relax yourself with the meditation tools.
Dr. Yishan Xu leads Mandarin and English insomnia group (online and offline), if you want to find more info, please contact us:
885 N. San Antonio Rd., Suit O,
Los Altos, CA 94022
SF Bay Area