The Cleveland Clinic

Sleep Disorders: Behavioral Treatments

Lifestyle/behavioral treatments for sleep disorders may include:

  • Relaxation training
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Stimulus control (SC)
  • Sleep restriction therapy (SRT)
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Relaxation
  • Training

Methods such as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), deep breathing techniques, imagery, and self-hypnosis may help some people overcome a sleep disorder. PMR involves helping the individual to sequentially tense and relax the bodys major muscle groups while concentrating on and contrasting sensations of tension and relaxation. Daily practice of relaxation techniques between therapy sessions is essential and tends to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment.

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy helps people with insomnia identify and correct inappropriate thoughts and beliefs that may contribute to insomnia. Cognitive therapy can give people the proper information about sleep norms, age-related sleep changes, reasonable sleep goals, and the influence of naps and exercise.

Stimulus Control

SC derives from the belief that insomnia may be related to the bedrooms having become associated with other things (stressful situations, for example) besides sleep and sex. Therefore, the bedroom should be reserved for sleep, sex and dressing only.

Sleep Restriction Therapy

SRT is based on the belief that excess time in bed makes sleep problems worse. SRT consists of limiting a persons time in bed to only that time where they are sleeping.