SLEEP EASY COMPARED WITH COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR INSOMNIA
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, also called CBT-I, is a treatment that focuses on behavioral techniques and changing thoughts.
Sleep Easy is a clinically-proven treatment that's based on the neurophysiological pathways that occur with the body and mind's natural sleep process.
Sleep Easy is significantly different from CBT-I in a number of fundamental ways.
CBT-I employs two primary tools that are a combination of stimulus control and sleep restriction. The first behavioral guideline requires that after a person has gone to bed and hasn't fallen asleep after 20 minutes, they are to get out of bed and not return until they feel sleepy. Once they return to bed, if they're not able to fall asleep in the next 20 minutes, they are instructed to get out of bed again. The client is instructed to repeat this cycle until they are able to fall asleep within 20 minutes.
The second behavioral guideline of CBT-I is to restrict the time in bed to close to the amount of time the person sleeps. If the person is sleeping only four hours a night, they are instructed to go to bed later and get out of bed earlier, so they are only physically in bed for close to the four hours which they are sleeping.
The intention of these behavioral techniques is to reduce the amount of time a person is in bed awake and anxious. However, many people say the sleep restriction and stimulus control protocol increases anxiety, sometimes feels like "torture," and makes sleep worse.
Research shows that adherence to the CBT-I treatment regimen is very low because it requires discipline, perseverance, and usually makes sleep worse before the potential of sleep improving. The other important point here is that this protocol works by 'forcing' the nervous system to change. That's inherently stressful both physically and emotionally, and stress, in both the body and mind, is often a significant element contributing to difficulties in sleeping. The Sleep Easy method creates less stress, not more
The CBT-I protocol of limiting the time in bed is also called "sleep compression." In our increasingly sped-up society, we already have too much compression, especially time-compression, and that contributes to the tension that interferes with sleep.
Sleep Easy gives people a way to experience sleep as an expansive state, without imposed compression.
With Sleep Easy, even when people aren't yet all the way to sleep, it gives people a tangible way of easing toward sleep, a feeling of being half-asleep. This is a restorative feeling, so a person can stay in bed, receiving benefits of rest without anxiety. The body recognizes these physiological sensations related to sleep, creating what we call, the "inner pathway to sleep" that makes sleep even easier as the person continues to use the method.
Most forms of CBT-I utilize traditional relaxation methods applied to sleep. One of these is progressive muscle relaxation, which guides the person through an extensive process of tightening and then relaxing muscles throughout the body.
Sleep Easy instead gives people a simple way to feel a few body sensations that engage the neurological processes associated with sleep. This is much quicker, easier and more effective than trying to calm many parts of the body.
CBT-I relaxation methods often involve some form of deep or abdominal breathing or counting during inhaling or exhaling.
In contrast, Sleep Easy provides an easy way to breathe the breath that occurs when sleeping. This feels natural and is much easier and more effective than deep, slow or abdominal breathing. The Sleep Breath gently pulls the person toward sleep.
CBT-I relaxation methods often involve visualizing being in a peaceful scene.
However, visualizing being in an environment other than where the person actually is, encourages dissociation and that is a primary contributor to insomnia. With Sleep Easy, people feel deeply safe and comfortable inside their body and in their current environment. The Sleep Easy Method helps resolve the human condition of core tension and chronic dissociation as a response to trauma, stress and fear.
Also, for many people visualization requires effort and is often just another form of thinking. With Sleep Easy, people don't have to visualize. They simply feel certain comfortable body sensations. Because the body sensations of sleep are similar for almost everyone, people report this feels like the natural way sleep happens rather than an artificial method.
CBT-I often involves techniques like meditation or mindfulness. These often require training and practice, and many people report they find it too much effort and get frustrated by the process.
Meditation and mindfulness are very helpful in life because they're designed to help people be present and awake. However, meditation and mindfulness techniques are fundamentally not designed to help people sleep—and meditation teachers often urge their students to not fall asleep while meditating.
Also, some people have a religious objection to meditation.
Sleep Easy does not utilize meditation or mindfulness techniques. A primary feature of the Sleep Easy method is that people don't have to to quiet their mind. Instead, in the midst of whatever's going on in their mind and their circumstances, the Sleep Easy Method provides a simple way to create a feeling of comfort, protection and safety deep in the body. The mind naturally rests in this feeling and becomes quiet without trying to make it quiet. This is much easier than meditation or mindfulness. In fact, people report that with Sleep Easy, their mind usually becomes quieter the first-time they use this method.
Another example of how Sleep Easy is different from CBT-I, is CBT-I encourages people to keep sleep diaries to track their sleep.
Sleep Easy recommends that people don't keep sleep diaries because those often make people hypervigilent about their sleep, which increases anxiety. Yes, people should note if certain daytime behaviors, such as eating certain foods, or other things interfere with sleep—but not by keeping a detailed sleep diary. We need to relax and soften hypervigilance and tension that underlies most sleep difficulties.
CBT-I often initially focuses on changing negative thoughts to try to improve sleep, using traditional cognitive restructuring methods.
Sleep Easy does not require the person to initially change their thoughts. Instead, it provides an easy and effective way to sleep better, often the first night.
When the person has the experience of sleeping well, that almost automatically changes the negative and stressful thoughts they had about their ability to sleep.
Additionally, Sleep Easy gives people an easy way to transform thoughts and emotion s rooted in, "I'm not good enough," which is often at the root of much mental and emotional discomfort that contributes to sleep difficulties.
With CBT-I, daytime relaxation methods often require individuals to take a separate "time-out" from their day to engage in a relaxation method.
Sleep Easy on the other hand, gives people an easy way to calm their anxiety and reaction to stress quickly during the day, even when their eyes are open and they're in the midst of activity. This is attractive because in people's busy lives, they're then able to relax in a way that doesn't require a separate time for relaxation.
CBT-I usually involves six weeks of sessions and people often don't often begin to sleep better until well into the treatment.
With Sleep Easy, most people sleep better their first night.
If the person is currently using sleep medication and wants to be able to sleep well without it, Sleep Easy provides a guided program to gradually reduce and eliminate the need for sleep medication—usually without withdrawal.
Sleep Easy has specialized programs to help make sleep easier for people who have various conditions. This includes programs for how to sleep well if the person has post-traumatic stress disorder, how to sleep well If they were sexually abused, sleeping well if they have discomfort from menopause. In addition to those, Sleep Easy give people a way to sleep well if they have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, are bi-polar or if they're on the autism spectrum.
The app also includes programs for good sleep when working unusual hours, are on call, or when traveling in different time zones.
I've been a psychotherapist for decades, specializing in mind-body medicine. Years ago, as a result of a major life crisis, I developed severe insomnia. Other sleep methods weren't effective and I didn't want to become dependent upon sleep medication. I spent years internally exploring my own insomnia—what was happening in my body and mind during the hours it would take to fall asleep or back to sleep. From that, I gained an understanding of the physiological process of how the mind and body fall asleep. With that knowledge, combined with additional years of research, collaboration and clinical experience, the Sleep Easy method was created.
This method has been clinically proven to have an efficacy rate of over 80% starting within the first few nights.
I serve nationally as a behavioral sleep consultant and work with several large medical groups serving over 300,000 patients. I've worked and conducted research with police and fire departments, commercial airline pilots and the general public to address serious safety and health issues associated with sleep difficulties.
People consistently report success with the Sleep Easy method, after they were hopeless from having tried everything else.
Even with all I've said in this session, it's important to note that different people have different needs. If Sleep Easy is not effective for someone, they could consider trying Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia.