Having Trouble Sleeping? New Therapy Suggests Less Is More

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Everybody sleeps, but some do it better than others.

For those tortured by sleepless nights, there’s a new therapy that uses the motto – if you want to sleep more, try sleeping less.

“When I’d go to bed, I would start and be like, okay, if I go to bed now, I’ve got eight hours. And then, an hour goes by, and it’s like okay, now I only have seven hours, then it’s six hours, and then it’s the morning,” Megan Grant said.

That was the unhappy and unhealthy way Grant slept, or tried to sleep at night.

“I would just sort of lay in my bed trying to sleep,” Grant said.

Dr. Matthew Lorber suggested a new therapy that had the 20-year-old Grant getting up and out of bed if she was lying awake for more than 30 minutes.

“I was like, what do you mean? Like, that doesn’t sound right to me,” Grant said.

It’s called restrictive sleep therapy.

“Once you’re tossing and turning for 30 minutes, get out of bed, and don’t go back into bed until you’re tired again,” Dr. Lorber said.

“The concept of just lying there and like resting in bed felt better like than going and doing something else, so I was very, like, reluctant at first,” Grant said.

But, she liked the idea of drug free therapy even as Dr. Lorber prepared her for the discipline the process required.

“When I suggest to someone that if you’re up to 3 to 3:30 in the morning get out of bed, get out of your bedroom, they do – they look at me like I’m crazy first, but I think rationally; intuitively, it does make sense,” Dr. Lorber said.

“Admittedly, the first few nights of this will probably be terrible,” Dr. Steven Feinsilver said.

Dr. Feinsilver is an expert on sleep disorders.

He said once patients are out of bed they should simply try reading, no TV, or electronics, no food or alcohol.

“It seems very backwards, kind of counterintuitive, that we ask people to sleep less when we’re trying to get them to sleep better,” Dr. Feinsilver said.

The idea is to quiet the mind, staying calm as they wait to get tired again.

Dr. Feinsilver added it can take several weeks to re-learn how to sleep.

“Eventually, you’re going to sleep, and that’s a very simple idea, but it really works. It works very neatly” Dr. Feinsilver said.

“Every night I’m like, love going to bed, it’s the greatest feeling. I get in my bed, and I’m cozy, and like ready to go. It makes such like a world of a difference,” Grant said.

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