How Does Sleep Restriction Therapy (SRT) Work?
What Is Sleep Restriction Therapy?
SRT may be offered as a single therapy. However, it is often part of multi-component treatment, like cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (CBT-I). CBT-I, recommended as the first-line therapy for chronic insomnia, includes SRT as well as stimulus control, relaxation training, and more.
How Does Sleep Restriction Therapy Work?
Building homeostatic sleep drive - increasing pressure for sleep, the longer a person is awake
Balancing circadian control of sleep-wake cycle, the daily cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes
Decreasing hyperarousal in both mind and body before sleep
How Effective is Sleep Restriction Therapy?
How Long Does It Take For Sleep Restriction Therapy To Work?
What Are The Steps In Sleep Restriction Therapy?
Sleep diary/average total sleep time. Before starting sleep restriction, your coach may recommend that you use a sleep diary to record the total sleep time each night for 1 to 2 weeks. This will help calculate the average total sleep time per week.
Sleep window. To start, your coach will recommend that you restrict the time in bed each night to equal the average total sleep time. This is also called the sleep window. For example, a person averaging 6 hours of sleep/night should restrict their time in bed to 6 hours.
Sleep efficiency score. Continuing to use the sleep diary to track time in bed and time asleep allows your coach to calculate your sleep efficiency score: the time spent asleep, in minutes, divided by time in bed, in minutes.
Average sleep efficiency score. Every week, this information is used to determine the average sleep efficiency score - percentage of time asleep while in bed over one week’s time.
Sample Section of a 1-Week Sleep Diary
Step 1: Add time asleep for the week = 2760 minutes
Step 2: Divide by time in bed for the week = 3360 minutes
Step 3: Average sleep efficiency score = 82%
This information, the Average Sleep Efficiency Score, is then used by your health coach or doctor to adjust the sleep window. The sleep diary helps you and your health coach/ professional track your progress as sleep improves and core sleep requirements are determined (the minimal amount of sleep the brain and body need to recover).
What Are Some Helpful Hints For Sleep Restriction Therapy?
Expect initial worsening of your daytime sleepiness. The sleepiness will improve as your sleep becomes more regular and of higher quality i.e. more efficient.
It’s best to wake up and go to sleep at about the same time. Use average total sleep time to determine both. For example, a person with an average total sleep time of 6 hours, who wishes to have a wake time of 6:00 AM, should go to sleep at 12:00 AM - allowing for 6 hours of sleep.
Practice good sleep hygiene.
If you have trouble sleeping, sleep restriction therapy is just part of Goodpath's sleep programs and is included in our CBT-I sessions. Our well-rounded sleep program also includes supplements, over-the-counter medicines, relaxation techniques, as well as exercises and nutritional support. To get started take a few minutes to complete our free sleep assessment.