What to tell a loved one suffering from insomnia:
The first thing to tell them is that there is a way to resolve their sleep problem. It just might not be in the avenues that they are currently looking. And that’s not their fault! It’s because it is not very well publicised. But essentially, insomnia has a very good treatment that actually gets rid of it. It doesn’t control it and it doesn’t just stop it for a while – it gets rid of it for the long-term.
We call it Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia, bit of a mouthful so CBT-I for short. The most important thing is to give them that information. It’s important for them to understand that there is something out there and that they do not need to worry.
I think for a lot of people they feel like they’re this ticking time bomb. That if they don’t sort it out tonight or tomorrow night, then something bad will happen (even though they’ve had the problem for a while!). It’s always this imminent fear and they’re on a knife edge the whole time. So, the best thing you can do is let them know there is a way to fix their sleep problem and that it’s called CBT-I!
Although they 100% have a chronic issue that can be resolved, there is no immediate threat. Nothing bad is going to happen in the next couple of days because they’re not sleeping – sleep goes up and down with life. If we could find a way to help people feel better about that, then the anxiety wouldn’t creep up.
Being able to alleviate some of that anxiety with some of what I’ve just said is so important! Because for sure, you can have a sleep problem without anxiety. But add the anxiety and it becomes so much worse. So anything you can do anything, any positive things that you can say that you’ve just got from me, is going to be helpful.