Sleep Disorder Therapy

Sleep problems are one of the most disruptive issues to deal with, especially since sleep is as essential to mental and physical health as it is to daily functioning. 

What qualifies as a sleep issue? 

If you have trouble falling asleep, if you wake up frequently throughout the night, and if your sleep quality is poor and doesn’t leave you feeling restored in the morning, then it’s probably time to reach out for professional help. 

The following are common sleep disorders that may be keeping you up at night according to the DSM V:

Insomia Disorder

  • Periods of nocturnal wakefulness and/or insufficient amounts of nocturnal sleep
  • Repeated difficulties with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation, or quality that occurs despite adequate time and opportunity for sleep
  • Insomnia complaints, when characterized by the perception of poor quality, or nonrestorative sleep, even though the amount and quality of the usual sleep episode is perceived to be “normal” or adequate
  • Subtypes of insomnia include onset insomnia, early awakening insomnia, and sleep maintenance insomnia 
  • People may experience more than one of these subtypes of insomnia in combination

Hypersomnolence Disorder

  • Hypersomnia disorders are those in which the primary complaint is daytime sleepiness
  • The cause of daytime sleepiness is not disturbed nocturnal sleep or misaligned circadian rhythms
  • Hypersomnia is defined as a prolonged nocturnal sleep episodes or daily sleep amounts of greater than 9 hours

Narcolepsy or Hypocretin Deficiency

  • Sudden attacks of sleep at random times 
  • Sometimes sudden loss of muscle tone and hallucinations occur

Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Hypopnea Syndrome

  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome occurs when there is an obstruction in the airway resulting in increased breathing effort and inadequate ventilation
  • These events are often associated with reduced blood oxygen saturation
  • Snoring and sleep disruption are typical and common with hypopnea syndrome
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or insomnia can result

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Central Sleep Apnea

  • Recurrent episodes of cessation of breathing during sleep without associated ventilatory effort

Sleep Related Hyperventilation

  • Sleep-related hypoventilation is a breathing-related disorder that interrupts normal sleep
  • This condition may be diagnosed when all other sleep disorders have been ruled out, though it may appear simultaneously with other sleep disorders


Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorder

  • Persistent or recurrent misalignment between a person’s sleep pattern and the pattern that is desired or regarded as the societal norm
  • The patient cannot sleep when sleep is desired, needed, or expected
  • The wake episodes can occur at undesired times as a result of sleep episodes that occur at inappropriate times, and therefore, the person may complain of insomnia or excessive sleepiness


Disorder of Arousal

  • Mental confusion or confused behavior that occurs during or after arousal from sleep
  • These arousals are common in children and can occur not only from nocturnal sleep but also from daytime naps 


Nightmare Disorder

  • Recurrent nightmares that occur in REM sleep and result in an awakening with intense anxiety, fear, or other negative feelings

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Disorder

  • Physically acting out vivid, often unpleasant dreams with vocal sounds and sudden, often violent arm and leg movements during REM sleep
  • These episodes are sometimes referred to as “dream enacting behavior”

Restless Leg Syndrome

  • An uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation 
  • Restless Leg Syndrome typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down, which may disturb sleep

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Substance Induced Sleep Disorder

  • Medication-induced sleep disorder is the official diagnostic name for insomnia and other sleep problems which are caused by the use of alcohol, drugs, or taking certain medications

CBTI and Sleep Disorder Treatments

Thankfully there are a number of psychological interventions available to help you catch some solid Zzz’s.

A successful approach used by therapists is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI)

It utilizes standard cognitive interventions coupled with behavioral strategies that specifically target sleep disruption. 

This method can be highly effective in improving the quality of sleep as well as daytime functioning.

CBTI focuses on changing your unrealistic expectations about sleep. 

Common beliefs you may have are: “I must fall asleep right now to get 8 hours of sleep,” or “I must get 8 hours of sleep or I’m going to fail tomorrow.” 

Together we will work to shift these attitudes by exploring what constitutes a normal amount of sleep and how people are able to compensate for lost sleep. 

We will also process thoughts and feelings that contribute to disruptions and loss of sleep.

Behavioral strategies in CBTI often include stimulus control therapy, sleep restriction therapy, and sleep hygiene. 

These strategies are designed to break associations with being in bed that are not related to sleep, enable you to get deeper and more restful zzz’s and establish more ideal environments for sleep and wakefulness.

Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective for targeting sleep disorders.

Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page. 

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At My LA Therapy, our highly-vetted Sleep Disorder experts are selected not only for their clinical acumen but for who they are.


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