2. Try going for therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) is not well-known, but it’s effective for almost all ages including adults and teens, as shown by a 2012 study at Loughborough University. “The outcomes are very good for CBT for insomnia,” says Norah Vincent, clinical psychologist at the Health Sciences Center behavioral sleep medicine clinic in Winnipeg. “You have to work a lot longer at CBT to see the gains for some other health problems.” Ninety percent of Vincent’s patients report improvement in their sleep after following the six-week program. And the success rate of the clinic’s online program, which people do from their home, has an 80 percent success rate.
CBTi has six components: cognitive therapy, which changes your thinking patterns about the problem; stimulus control, which restricts bedroom activities so you’ll link your bed with drowsiness instead of agitation; relaxation therapy, which helps your body unwind; sleep hygiene; mindfulness meditation; and sleep restriction, which—believe it or not—is probably the most effective component. Sleep restriction increases your drive for sleep and quickens sleep onset, resulting in a deeper sleep. For example, if you’re only sleeping six hours a night and you have to get up at 7 a.m., try staying up until 1 a.m. “It’s counterintuitive, but people hit the pillow hard and sleep more deeply,” Vincent says. After a few nights, move your bedtime 15 or 30 minutes earlier at a time.