Sleep Therapy

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How Sleep Therapy can help you

Sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of our overall health and well-being. Sleep is important because it enables your body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration. (Medical News Today)

Sleep Therapy may be helpful in the overall management of several conditions, including:

  • Sleep disorders such as Insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, Sleep Apnea, Teeth Grinding (Bruxism), and Narcolepsy.
  • Mental health conditions such as Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Substance Abuse, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
  • Physical Health Conditions—not getting enough sleep can raise your risk of developing health conditions such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, and Obesity. (VeryWellMind)

Your Sleep Health can also specifically influence:

  • Better productivity, concentration, and cognition.
  • Better Athletic Performance.
  • More Social and Emotional Intelligence.
  • The reduction or prevention of Depression.
  • Lower Inflammation.
  • A stronger Immune System. (Medical News Today)
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Sleep is essential for optimal cognitive performance, physiological processes, emotional regulation, and quality of life. Research consistently demonstrates that Sleep is a significant component of physical and mental health, as well as overall well-being. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s health and wellness necessitates an assessment of Sleep Health.

In addition to evaluating your nightly experience of sleep in terms of duration, continuity, and timing, there are numerous short-term and long-term benefits to Healthy Sleep. Below are a few daytime indicators that you have established a Healthy Sleep pattern:

  • Waking up feeling refreshed in the morning.
  • Having lots of energy during the day.
  • Being in a good mood.
  • Feeling clear-headed.

On the other hand, a Sleep pattern that isn’t healthy also comes with typical indicators. If you’re chronically Sleep-deprived, or if the quality of your Sleep each night is poor, you might show certain symptoms, such as the following:

  • Having trouble getting up in the morning.
  • Struggling to focus.
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety.
  • Feeling sleepy during the day or needing to schedule daytime naps.
  • Sleeping much longer or later on unstructured days.

If one or more of these signs sounds like you, it might be a good idea to start examining your Sleep Hygiene Practices to see whether you can promote better Sleep by changing your environment, adjusting your daily activities, and establishing a bedtime routine. (National Sleep Foundation, Washington, DC)

Sleep Health treatments may include:

  • Breathing Devices
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-1)
  • Dental Guards
  • Medications and supplements
  • Surgery. (Mayo Clinic)

Getting an assessment from a sleep specialist is a great place to start your journey.

Not sleeping well can leave you tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate. It can affect your performance at school or work, take a toll on your relationships, and affect your health and safety.

Sleep Therapy is a form of therapy designed to improve the quality of your sleep. It can help with sleep disorders like Insomnia. It may also help with other mental and physical health conditions.


Your Medical Practitioner or Sleep Therapist will first perform a physical exam and gather information about your symptoms and medical history. They may also order various tests, including:

  • Polysomnography (PSG)—A Lab Sleep Study that evaluates your oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to determine how they disrupt sleep vs. Home Sleep Study (HST) that is performed on your own and is used to diagnose Sleep Apnea.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)—A test that assesses electrical activity in your brain and detects any potential problems associated with this activity. It’s part of a polysomnography.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)—A daytime napping study is used in conjunction with a PSG at night to help diagnose Narcolepsy.

These tests can be crucial in determining the right course of treatment for sleep disorders.

Types of Sleep Therapy

  1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) is one of the most commonly used and studied forms of Sleep Therapy. CBTi can help you recognize and replace unhealthy sleep-related thoughts and behaviors with healthier habits and attitudes. A few of the techniques CBTi Sleep Therapists use include:
  • Sleep Hygiene—Building healthy sleep-related habits and routines (e.g. limiting alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and large meals in the evening, while increasing regular exercise and committing to a consistent sleep-wake schedule.)
  • Sleep Environment Optimization—Optimizing the various elements of your sleep environment (e.g. comfortable, quiet, dark, and cool room; hide the clocks; remove mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices from your bedroom; use a sleep mask; etc.)
  • Stimulus Control—Removing cues that condition your mind to resist sleep (e.g. watching TV until right before trying to sleep, watching  or reading exciting/stimulating/disturbing content right before bedtime, eating right before going to sleep, etc.)
  • Paradoxical Intention—Commit to staying awake. This helps you let go of your resistance and anxiety about whether or not you’ll fall asleep and enables you to release your worry about it. This can make it easier for you to actually fall asleep.

2. Breathing Devices such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Machines are becoming increasingly common for treating Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  A CPAP machine provides you with a steady flow of oxygen into your nose and mouth (or just your nose) that pushes against any airway blockages as you sleep. It keeps your airways open and helps you breathe normally. There are a number of different types of CPAP machines on the market so it is always best to get a Sleep Assessment from a medical professional and be fitted for the one that is best for you.

3. Dental Guards are specifically used to prevent Teeth Grinding at night and can also be used to reduce Snoring and Sleep Apnea. A few of the available types of mouthguards include:

  • Stock Mouthgards—Widely available and affordable (in small, medium, and large) at sporting goods stores and drug stores. Most only cover your top teeth, are often uncomfortable, and don’t provide a tight fit.
  • Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards—Sold in most drug stores and are relatively inexpensive. They come in one size that you take home, removing the mouthguard from the package, put it in a small pot of water and bring to a boil until the mouthguard softens, remove the mouthguard from the boiling water and cool it just enough so you don’t burn yourself but so it’s still soft, then you place it over your front teeth and bite down until it molds to the shape of your upper teeth. NOTE: Always follow the directions that come with the device.
  • Custom-made Mouthguards—You can acquire these from your Dentist. They take a professional mold of your teeth and use that to create a mouthguard specifically for the structure of your teeth and mouth. Of course, this option will have the best fit, likely be more comfortable, and be harder to dislodge while you’re sleeping. Many Dental insurance plans will cover these.

4. Medications and Supplements. There are a number of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids that may help you get to sleep or remain asleep.

While they can sometimes be effective, Doctors and other Medical Practitioners don’t typically recommend using sleeping pills or even natural sleeping remedies long-term because of the side effects, which can include: daytime sleepiness, forgetfulness, sleepwalking, balance problems, and falling. Certain classes of sleeping pills can be habit-forming and may interfere with other medications you may be taking.

5. Surgery is typically a last resort, when other non-surgical interventions don’t work. There are many different surgical options for treating sleep disorders and they have varying degrees of success rate outcomes. Surgery is definitely an option that you must only do under the advice and guidance of your Doctor.

Everyone knows that sleep is important. Without it, you may not have the energy to get through your day. However, sleep problems that go on for a long time can affect your overall health.

Most adults do best when they get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day. During your hours of sleep your brain has time to:

  • Grow and repair cells.
  • Form new pathways for learning, remembering, and processing information.
  • Rebuild your energy for the next day.

Although having a few sleepless nights may leave you feeling tired and grumpy, it probably won’t affect your general state of good health. But when you don’t sleep well night after night, you might have what’s called ‘sleep deprivation’ or ‘sleep debt.’

Besides affecting your energy level and your mood, sleep debt affects your body in lots of other ways. For example:

  • You may feel pain more easily.
  • Your risk for heart disease is higher.
  • Your immune system has a harder time fighting infection.
  • You may have mood swings.
  • You may have trouble learning, solving problems, and remembering.

And not getting enough sleep is linked with a number of chronic (long-term) diseases and conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and depression. While almost everyone feels sleepy in the daytime now and then, sleep debt can be the cause of serious problems like car crashes and work-related injuries.

If you are consistently having trouble sleeping, and none of the strategies you try on your own are working, it is a good idea to consult a Sleep Health Practitioner to get some help. 

Explore the Research

We believe you should have access to high-quality research to help you make informed health decisions. Below are four trusted databases you can use as tools to expand your healthcare knowledge.