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Welcome to CombatCounselor Chronicle, an E-zine dedicated to giving you the most current, pertinent information on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based CBT available.

Chris Sorrentino, a.k.a CombatCounselor, is a leader and expert in cognitive behavioral therapy. He combines 30 years of experience in psychology with the discipline from having served as a U.S. Air Force officer for 20 years, 4 of those in combat zones, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2005.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Trouble Sleeping? ... Join the Club!

Do you have trouble sleeping? Well, a great many Americans do, so you are not alone! Want to do something about it? Read more...
A recent study in published in the journal Sleep indicated that the average American loses 11 working days each year due to insomnia...11 DAYS! 
BOTTOM LINE: Use common sense and reduce exposure to blue light after dark to sleep better. You can also:
1. Sleep in a cool, dark room.
2. Avoid caffeine and nicotine (stimulants) at night.
3. Develop a regular sleep routine, waking & going to bed at the same time EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.
4. Use your bed for sleeping (sex is OK...whew!) ONLY.
5. Exercise regularly - more than 2-3 hours prior to bedtime
6. If you are having trouble sleeping, get out of bed until you are tired enough to sleep.
7. Download a "White Noise" app for your smartphone (turn ringer off or use "airplane mode")
The April 2012 issue of Money Magazine stated that "If Nothing's Working...Try cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT, a form of therapy that seeks to train your mental habits is one of the most effective methods of treating sleep ills. Most people see improvement after four to six's usually about $200 a session...a good night's sleep is always a sound investment."  You can find a cognitive behavioral therapist on Psychology Today's Therapist Finder  by entering your zip code and using the advanced search to narrow your options down to "cognitive behavioral" therapists in your area, specializing in your unique situation...there are many, many filters to find the therapist you need. REMEMBER: MANY THERAPISTS CALL THEMSELVES "COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL" in order to receive payments from insurance companies, so understand what a cognitive behavioral therapist does and ask pertinent questions to see if they are who the say they are:
  • Which theorists do you base your work on? 
    • B.F. Skinner, Aaron/Judith Beck, Albert Ellis, Donald Meichenbaum, Marsha Linehan, Steven Hayes are all acceptable
  • Which cognitive behavioral techniques do you use (have them explain their answers)?
    • Cognitive restructuring, exposure, response prevention, prolonged exposure, interoceptive exposure, mastery and pleasure activity scheduling, mindfulness, dialectics, cognitive defusion, values-clarification are valid answers
  • How long should therapy take?
    • CBT is time-limited by nature and should take no more than 3-4 months MAXIMUM to complete
    • Most treatments take from 4-14 sessions (50-90 minutes each), but some of the more complex cases, like DBT for Borderline Personality Disorder, take as much or more than one year
There has also been recent research that proves that "blue" light, the kind we get from sunshine, TV and computer screens, light bulbs, even alarm clock numbers, stimulates seratonin (which helps keep you awake and alert among other things) and suppresses melatonin (a hormone which tells you it's time to sleep). Orange light, which comes from the opposite end of the light spectrum, has the opposite effect, helping to produce melatonin and inducing sleepiness.
So, what does that mean for you insomniacs? Reduce eye exposure to blue light after dark by staying away from the sources listed above or use orange light at night to read and do other things. Candle light produces orange light, so act like Abe and go "au naturale" after dark (I mean read by candlelight, not get naked).
You can buy orange lightbulbs online and there are other things you can do:
2. Download a free app that will automatically adjust your monitors visible spectrum based on time of day:

                                              CLICK HERE - LINK TO FREE APP

3. Buy orange safety goggles or glasses, also available online, and wear them at night before bed.Sleep tight!

Thank for information on the ligjt spectrum and effects on sleep.

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