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Using Sleep Restriction Therapy to Conquer Your Insomnia

New techniques are finally being developed that may allows those suffering from chronic insomnia to get the sleep they need, and one of the most useful is sleep restriction therapy.

If you have struggled with insomnia at any point in your life, you know just how big of a problem it can be. Not only does it cause you to constantly feel tired and fatigued, but it also leads to more severe sleep deprivation that can cause a whole host of other more serious health problems. 

So if you're tired of struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep night after night, you should consider trying sleep restriction to see just how effective it can be for you. Okay, so what is it?

Sleep restriction is a technique that was developed by Dr. Spielman from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. This technique soon proved so effective that it has now been adopted by many experts as being one of the best insomnia treatment methods available

In fact, during his initial trials, Dr. Spielman reported that the majority of his insomnia patients were able to sleep for at least seven hours a night after undergoing sleep restriction therapy for only a month or so.

Still, the one thing you need to know if you are considering trying this treatment is that it is not the easiest thing to do, and will require lots of patience and dedication in order for it to have any effect. 

The good thing about it is that you can actually use this technique on your own, without the need to hire a doctor or sleep specialist. Therefore, if you are serious about finally ridding yourself of your insomnia problem, then this is one treatment method that you definitely need to try.

How To Use Sleep Restriction Therapy

sleep restriction therapySleep restriction is all about re-setting your internal clock to allow you to get more and better quality sleep each evening, and involves using a series of steps that will hopefully eventually result in no more insomnia. If you want to try sleep restriction on your own, then all you need to do is simply follow the steps below.

If you pay close attention and make sure you do exactly what is stated in each step, you should be able to see a massive improvement within a month or so, and will most likely be sleeping completely normally within another month.

  • Step 1- Finding Your Sleep Threshold

Most people with insomnia, even the most severe cases, are usually still able to sleep at least a few minutes or hours each evening, and the first step towards sleep restriction is finding the minimum amount of hours you are able to sleep each night. 

This involves keeping a very detailed log of your sleeping patterns over a period of a week or so, noting the exact amount of hours you slept each night. After this time, you should look back through your sleep log to try to determine the average of hours you were able to sleep each night. This average will be your sleep threshold and will be very useful in the next steps.

  • Step 2- Stay Awake for 24 Hours

The next step is to restrict your sleep by staying awake for 24 hours, which will basically help to reset your internal clock and counteract your negative sleep cycle. Doing this will cause certain chemicals to build up in your body that will induce sleep, which will in turn be beneficial in helping you to fall asleep soundly the next night.

  • Step 3- Sleep For Only Your Sleep Threshold

sleep restriction therapyAfter staying awake for 24 hours, you are ready to begin the actual sleep restriction. The next night, you should make sure that you only sleep for the number of hours that you determined to be your minimum sleep threshold in step 1. 

Make sure that you make this number of hours coincide with the time you want to wake up, i.e. if your sleep threshold is four hours and you want to wake up at 6:30am, then you should go to bed at 2:30am. Set your alarm for the time you want to wake up, and make sure you get up when the alarm goes off, even if you feel you could sleep more. 

You should continue doing this for at least a week or so, making sure to only sleep for that exact number of hours each night.

  • Step 4- Using Bright Lights to Help You Wake Up

When using sleep restriction therapy, one of the most important parts is tricking your brain into wakefulness by using very bright lights after waking up. Each morning when you awake, you will need to immediately turn on these extra bright lights for at least 30 minutes in order to make your brain become fully awake.

  • Step 5- Slowly Increase Your Sleep Threshold

sleep restriction therapyAfter a week or so, you can then begin to slowly increase the amount of hours you sleep each night, but make sure not to do it too quickly. You should increase in 15 to 30 minute increments every day or every other day. If you find you are having trouble going to sleep immediately after the increase, then lower your sleep back to where you can fall asleep immediately. 

Still, you should eventually be able to slowly increase your sleep threshold to the point where you are able to sleep for at least six hours a night and hopefully even a full eight hours. Make sure to not be too disappointed if it takes you longer than expected, as the results will vary from person to person.

Important Notes- No Napping and No Sleeping Pills 


One of the most important factors in the success of this technique is to make sure you don't throw off your sleeping patterns by taking a nap. Doing so will ruin all of the hard work you have put in, and could cause you to have to start over. 

Just as important is to never use sleeping pills, as they are not effective and will simply mask the problem, making you feel better about not being able to sleep.


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