Treating Insomnia Without Medications
Stimulus Control Guidelines
Set a Reasonable Bedtime and Arising Time and Stick to Them.
Spending excessive time in bed has two unfortunate consequences: (1) you begin to associate your bedroom with arousal and frustration, and (2) your sleep actually becomes more shallow. Set the alarm clock and get out ofbed at the same time in the morning, weekdays and weekends, regardless ofyour bedtime or the amount ofsleep you obtained on the previous night. You probably will be tempted to stay in bed in designed to regulate your internal biological clock and reset your sleep-wake rhythm.
Go to Bed Only When You Are Sleepy.
There is no reason to go to bed ifyou are not sleepy. When you go to bed early, it only gives you more time to become frustrated. Individuals often ponder the events ofthe day, plan the next day’s schedule, or worry about their inability to fall asleep. Therefore, you should delay your bedtime until you are sleepy. This may mean that you go to bed even later than your scheduled bedtime. Remember to stick to your scheduled arising time regardless ofthe time you go to bed.
Get Out of Bed When You Cannot Fall Asleep or Go Back to Sleep in about 15 Minutes. Repeat This Step as Often as Necessary.
Although we do not want you to be a clock-watcher, get out ofbed if you do not fall asleep fairly soon. Remember, the goal is for you to fall asleep quickly. Return to bed only when you are sleepy. The object is for you to reconnect your bed with sleeping rather than frustration. It will be demanding to follow this instruction, but many people have found ways to adhere to this guideline.
Use the Bed or Bedroom for Sleep and Sex Only. Do Not Watch Television, Listen to Radio, Eat or Read in Your Bedroom.
The purpose ofthe guideline is to associate your bedroom with sleep rather than wakefulness. Just as you may associate the kitchen with hunger, this guideline will help you associate sleep with your bedroom. Follow this rule both during the day and at night. You may have to temporarily move the television and/or radio from your bedroom to help during treatment.
Allow Yourself at Least an Hour Before Bedtime to Unwind.
The brain is not a light switch that you can instantly shut on and off. Most ofus cannot expect to go to bed until 8:00 P.M. and then fall peacefully asleep at 8:15. Take a hot bath, read a novel, watch some television, or have a pleasant talk with your spouse or kids. Find what works for you. Be sure not to struggle with a problem, get into an argument before bed, or do anything else that might increase your arousal.