Sleep training is what adults use to train their children to sleep through the night. But did you know that adults can sleep train themselves, and that they should! Here's some more information on how adults can sleep train themselves and what effect it has on depression prevention.
CBT Sleep Training
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic approach that teaches you how to break bad habits in order to prepare your mind and body for a good night's sleep. This can help to prevent depression in older adults with insomnia, according to a new clinical trial.
These trials are the first to demonstrate that you can treat insomnia with a behavioral approach instead of medication and that this approach can help to prevent the development of depression in older adults. For many adults with insomnia and/or depression, taking a pill may be a deterrent for seeking professional help and adhering to the treatment plan. By incorporating a strictly behavioral therapeutic technique, individuals may be able to treat their depression and insomnia in a manner that's comfortable for them.
Adults in this clinical trial who received CBT for their insomnia where two times less likely to develop depression, showing that insomnia can be targeted with CBT to prevent depression from occurring.
Insomnia and depression
Insomnia is the inability to go to sleep. It can be either acute or chronic and either primary or secondary. Acute insomnia takes place over a short period of time while chronic insomnia takes place over a long period of time. Primary insomnia is the inability to go to sleep without another cause. Secondary insomnia is the inability to go to sleep because of another identifiable cause.
Insomnia is a major risk factor for depression. Anywhere from 30-50% of older adults complain of insomnia. Major depression is also very common among older adults, and is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline, disability, suicide, and all-cause mortality.
What is CBT?
CBT is a therapeutic approach that is administered by mental health professionals. It is the most evidence-based behavioral treatment for insomnia and has been proven to be as effective, longer lasting and have fewer side effects than sleep medications.
CBT-I has five components: stimulus control, sleep restriction, sleep hygiene, relaxation and CBT. Sleep hygiene and relaxation involve good sleep habits like getting up and going to sleep at the same time, eliminating blue lights and noise from the bedroom, taking warm baths or doing yoga, and keeping the room cool and electronic-free.
Stimulus control involves getting people out of bed when they can't sleep. Most people stay in bed worrying about not being able to sleep which turns the bed into a negative space. Instead, people are taught to getup after 10 minutes of tossing and turning, and do quiet, non-stimulating activities and not go back to bed until they are sleepy.
Sleep restriction involves limiting time in bed to only the period a person sleeps plus 30 minutes. This is another way of getting people with insomnia to get up instead of lying in bed awake.
Cognitive therapy works to disrupt dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs about sleep, for example "I can't ever sleep". A therapist works with the person to counter illogical thinking and ease them into a more realistic mindset that will allow them to relax and see the bed as a welcoming place. Group settings are also helpful because patients can hear about others' difficulties and how they are solving them, which can help inform them about something they are dealing with.
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