Sleep problems: latest research & effective treatments
Updated: Sep 14, 2022
When we are faced with difficulties around sleep, there are a number of techniques that can help. If anxiety is making it difficult to fall asleep, practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and positive affirmations can help to reduce stress and produce relaxation. Other relaxation techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, positive imagery, and deep breathing exercises.
Another important component to healthy sleep is what experts call "sleep hygiene". Sleep hygiene is a set of habits-sort of like physical hygiene- that help us keep our brain and body trained to sleep and wake consistently. This includes only using the bed for sleep and intimacy, going to sleep at the same time each night, getting up at the same time each day, avoiding caffeine, blue light, and exercise before bed, and implementing a nightly routine before bedtime.
If nightmares pertaining to trauma interrupt sleep and make it hard to fall back asleep, Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trust Based Relational Interventions, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy techniques can help.
Parents may face special challenges and factors to consider when helping children with healthy sleep, including identifying sensory processing factors, implementing a sensory diet, easing fears, and facilitating relaxation for the child.
Rainbow Family Wellness provides individualized care to address sleep difficulties. This is especially impactful for the individuals and families we serve because research shows that adolescents have high rates of mood disorders and that members of the LGBTQ+ community are at increased risk for stress and adverse mental health conditions (Russell & Fish, 2016) .
Russell, S.T. & Fish, J.N. (2016, January 14). Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4887282/