Just how does sleep therapy actually work?

Can you train yourself to sleep well?

Sleep therapy
(Image credit: REX/Shutterstock)

Can you train yourself to sleep well?

Having insomnia, sleep apnea or generally bad sleep hygiene can not only lead to exhaustion but to depression, too. Cue sleep therapy...

Therapy around sleep is all about offering support and solutions to those challenged by sleep deprivation.

Cognitive behaviour therapy

The CBT formula for good sleep, according to Brendan Street, Clinical lead at Nuffield Health, is enough to retrain your body and mind to sleep well.

'Most of us will experience a lack of quality sleep at some time, and for some this endures over the long term. Whether you’re a new parent, a shift worker, or feeling the effects of stress and anxiety, sleep is often one of the first things to suffer and it can have severe effects on your overall health,' Brendan explains.

'Getting to the root of the problem is important, and small adaptions to your lifestyle can make a big difference to your sleep too. But there’s also a formula that is used by cognitive behavioural therapists to tackle the majority of sleep-disturbing factors.'

'There are two main interventions that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) utilises in order to help an individual to tackle sleep difficulties,' he explains. 'These interventions are sleep hygiene and stimulus control. Sleep hygiene is about forming good sleep habits and stimulus control works to strengthen the connection between the bed and sleep behaviour.'

'Implementing the key aspects of these two interventions will help individuals to unwind more quickly when they go to bed and so be ‘sound asleep’.'

Magnetic therapy

Magnetic therapy has been shown to be helpful in some cases of insomnia and it's because of the pineal gland. What is your pineal gland, you ask? It's an endocrine gland found deep inside your brain and it produces melatonin - which is essential in your sleep cycle.

At nightfall, your pineal gland starts producing more melatonin to make you feel sleepy and it stops producing it at dawn so you can wake up. And, it's been reported that magnetic therapy can help stimulate your gland to produce this hormone naturally. It uses static therapeutic magnets alter energy fields and is considered an alternative remedy available in brands like Magnetix.

Whatever form of therapy you choose, it is ultimately there to help you understand the mental and physical optimum states one needs to be able to sleep well.

Delphine Chui