There are several ways to solve a sleep problem and it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Options range from “off the shelf”, such as herbal remedies and guided sleep meditation apps, to “bespoke” (aka very expensive). Have you thought about all of your options and where does sleep coaching fit in?
When you have a problem, a lot of your time and energy is spent trying to find the right solution, before you can even begin your programme of recovery. When you take the wrong path a few times, you can easily feel disheartened.
Many people struggle with sleeping problems for years because they do not effectively identify the causes of their sleep issues, which can be very broad. Sleep is impacted by everything in your life.
Your sleep issues may be caused by your habits and behaviour, your thoughts and beliefs, your environment and situation, or – most likely – a very specific combination of different elements.
We’ve created a guide to different sleep solutions available to you, including sleep coaching, and the pros and cons of each.
When do you need help to sleep?
Before we begin, you might be wondering if you have a sleeping problem at all, or at least one that requires doing something about. Sleep apps track your sleep and give you a visual representation of your sleep, but what exactly is it telling you? It’s hard to know if you should be sleeping more, better, less or if, actually, your sleep is just fine.
Remember, your sleep is only a problem if it is impacting the quality of your life. If your sleep app tells you that you are sleeping badly, but you are feeling fine, you do not need to worry about it.
On the other hand – you do not need to have full-blown insomnia, or another sleep disorder, in order to take positive action to improve your sleep.
Making small improvements to your quality of sleep can make a big difference to your quality of life. Just like trying to fit in more exercise, or eat a little healthier, you can make small and targeted efforts to improve your sleep and feel the benefits.
- Take 30 minutes or more to fall asleep?
- Wake up during the night and cannot get back to sleep easily?
- Regularly wake up feeling like you had a bad night?
- Regularly feel sleepy during the day?
- Have a disturbed, agitated sleep or unwanted behaviours at night?
If you said “yes” to any of the above, good news! You can absolutely do something to improve your sleep.
For people who make the positive decision to do something about their sleep, there are plenty of ways to go: the medical approach, alternative therapy, sleep coaching or a smorgasbord of enticing new sleep products. What are the pros and cons? When and for whom are they for?
The four main ways to solve your sleeping problems
The medical approach is always recommended for people who have (or may have) medical sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. It is always a good idea to talk to your general doctor if you are suffering from insomnia or other sleeping problems.
Your doctor may recommend a sleep study, which helps to identify disorders such as sleep apnea, or run blood tests to see if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. They may also refer you out to another specialist if they think that would be useful such as a psychiatrist or nutritionist.
If there is no medical cause of your sleeping problems has been identified, a medical doctor may either prescribe sleeping pills or recommend that you work on your sleep hygiene.
To sleep soundly we all need a relaxed body, a calm mind and an environment that is conducive to sleep. Many people benefit from support and treatment of therapists such as psychologists, hypnotherapists, acupuncturists and cognitive behavioural therapists.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-i) in particular has been proven to have very successful results for some people. Working with a trained therapist, you will improve habits, beliefs and your sleep behaviour.
Most therapists will have a particular treatment, system or approach that they will apply to your situation. This approach may or may not work for you, so it’s worth understanding what the source of your sleep problem is to start with.
3. Sleep Coaching
A sleep coach is a qualified coach, with a specialism in sleep. Their role is to be a supportive guide and mentor to help you understand the root cause of your sleep problem, identify the right solution and apply change systematically to your life.
A sleep coach’s focus is on building a trusted relationship and providing personalised support and motivation. They are qualified to explore all issues surrounding sleep by holding a supportive space for you to talk freely. In sleep coaching sessions, you will receive insights into your own sleep and a personal sleep plan.
Look out for professional experience, training, testimonials, qualifications, as well as a personal fit.
Sleep coaching is not suitable for everyone. If you are not ready (or interested) to talk to someone about your sleep or you have physiological reasons for not sleeping, coaching may not be for you.
4. Sleep Products
There are many, many, many new sleep products on the market, from wake-up lights to self-cooling pillows and comforting blankets. Most of these products help in some way for a certain time, but the cost can quickly accumulate.
One problem with many sleep products is that they help with one specific issue relating to your sleep, but only one. You might fix one issue, which will improve your sleep a little, but other causes of your sleeping problems will not go away. Sometimes a product might be the most effective way to solve a sleeping problem, if you are sure that it is the problem you need to solve.
For example, a wake-up light is effective for “night owls” (people who would rather go to bed late and wake up late) who do not get enough access to natural light in the morning. But, they would need to look directly at the wake-up light for it to be effective.
It’s worth looking into the details of how effective various products are, and for what kinds of sleeping disorders, before you buy.
Time to take back control with sleep coaching
If you have a sleeping problem, or just want to improve your sleep to improve your quality of life, there are many options out there for you. Take some time to think about your personal situation and what is stopping you from sleeping. Here is a clue – it’s probably not just one thing!
If you are not sure where to start, it might be a good first step to talk to a Sleepability sleep coach (for free). You will see more clearly where to go from there because even if we can’t help you, we can give you some direction and rule things out before you go too far down the wrong road.
Please note: This article does not aim to be an all-inclusive list of approaches to solving sleep issues, however if we have missed any important approaches, we would be more than happy to hear about them and potentially add them to the article. You can email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need some advice and friendly support, you can book a free, commitment free, discovery call with one of our sleep coaches today.