Insomnia: A Self-Help Handbook

Sandy Sacre
School of Psychology & Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Series: Sleep – Physiology, Functions, Dreaming and Disorders

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This book is a practical and useful tool for getting your sleep back on track. Even if you have suffered from insomnia for many years, this book contains simple, easy to learn strategies to manage your sleep loss through evidence-based techniques such as cognitive therapy and stimulus control. Dr. Sacre will guide you through these approaches and explain how they work and why they are recommended above other approaches. There is a chapter on special populations that tells you what to do if you are a shift worker, long distance traveller, parent, older adult, woman (including pregnancy and menopause) or an elite athlete. If you want to enjoy natural, healthy and satisfying sleep again, this handbook gives you all the tools you need to achieve it. You only need to have the motivation and discipline to apply the strategies and stick to them over time.

This handbook first explains what normal sleep is all about and challenges some myths about sleep and insomnia. Then you will be guided through a thorough sleep assessment. Insomnia is then described in detail including different types of insomnia and the kinds of factors that contribute to sleep loss. Through the following chapters, you will be shown step-by-step what to do to bring about change in your sleeping patterns and habits, through addressing the factors that perpetuate poor sleep. These factors mainly revolve around unhelpful thinking, compensatory behaviors, poor sleep hygiene and environmental influences. These are all things that are within your control and Dr. Sacre will show you how.

Dr. Sacre has worked in the fields of sleep health, mental health and addictive disorders for 25 years and over that time, she has encountered hundreds of people who have struggled with insomnia and sleep loss due to other causes. She currently heads the Therapy Programs department at Belmont Private Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, where there is an emphasis on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) program.

A psychologist and nurse, Dr. Sacre is a long-time member of the Australasian Sleep Association and the Australian Psychological Society. She has conducted research into the function of dreaming, online sleep surveys and the usefulness of sleep self-help guides for students, older adults and carers of people with dementia. She has also published on diverse topics, including the management of nightmares in war veterans. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane and lectures professionals, including psychologists, school counselors and psychiatrists, on sleep disorders and their management as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. (Imprint: Novinka)

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Chapter 1 - Normal Sleep (pp. 1-10)

Chapter 2 - Your Sleep Assessment (pp. 11-22)

Chapter 3 - Why Do We Sleep? (pp. 23-34)

Chapter 4 - What Is Insomnia? (pp. 35-46)

Chapter 5 - The Things That Help and Those That Don’t (pp. 47-56)

Chapter 6 - Special Populations (pp. 57-70)

Chapter 7 - A Comprehensive Approach (pp. 71-80)

Chapter 8 - Changing Your Behaviour (pp. 81-92)

Chapter 9 - Changing Your Thinking (pp. 93-114)

Chapter 10 - Changing Your Environment (pp. 115-126)

Chapter 11 - Maintaining Long-Term Healthy Sleep Patterns (pp. 127-130)

Appendix 1. Useful Websites & Apps

Appendix 2. References

Index

“Finally, a practical and easy-to-read handbook that people with insomnia can use themselves to work on their sleep problems! Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to sleep poorly for a period and then suffer the consequences during the daytime. This book is all you need to solve your sleep problems once and for all!” - Mr Patrick McGurrin, Hospital Director, Belmont Private Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

“So many patients that I see suffer from insomnia and it is hard sometimes to know if their mental distress is the cause or the effect of sleep loss. Nevertheless, it is such a difficult problem to deal with and medication cannot be the only answer. A book like this is long overdue in the self-help literature and because it is thoroughly grounded in research evidence, I feel that I can recommend it to my patients. In addition, it is so well set out that I am sure they will be able to understand and use the strategies effectively.” - Dr Saibal Guha

The book is written for any individual who may be suffering from insomnia or may want to prevent sleep loss.

Professional people that may find it useful to recommend to their clients include: psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, medical practitioners from any specialty, counselors, psychotherapists, occupational therapists, etc.

Any groups or institutions involved with mental health and wellbeing or general physical health may find the book useful. Any organizations that employee shift workers or whose employees travel long-distance may find the book useful in managing sleep loss within those populations.

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