According to the most recent statistics from the National Institutes of Health, roughly 30 percent of U.S. adults suffer from some form of insomnia. About 15 to 20 percent of people battle chronic sleep deprivation each night.
Michelle Drerup, Psy.D., a Cleveland Clinic psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders says that insomniacs often suffer from the following symptoms:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Waking often during the night
- Waking up too early
- Fatigue upon waking
If your sleep problem lasts more than three months and it disrupts daily activities, chances are you're an insomniac. Work, family and constant access to technology prevent people from getting enough sleep.
Behavioral therapy for insomnia
While insomnia is a common problem, millions of people will typically ignore the signs of insomnia because they feel there are no suitable treatments, or they do not want to take medication. The good news is that treating insomnia often does not include medication at all.
"Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is our steadfast, true treatment," said Drerup. "It's really effective – about 70 to 80 percent of people who go through treatment have improvements in sleep without medications."
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, changes behaviors, like associating the bed with activities other than sleeping such as watching television. CBT also teaches patients relaxation techniques and provides tools on how to deal with worrisome thoughts and daily stressors.
Drerup says the best thing you can do to quiet your brain for sleep is to stay consistent.
"As adults, we need to be more mindful of our sleep routines," she said. "Your brain likes routine."