Using Shuti to Get Better Sleep
Better sleep is a priority for many of the people I see.
Recently I’ve started supporting clients in using an online CBTi (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) program. I decided to check out the program for myself to get a better feel for what clients are working with. Ultimately I recommend SHUTi to clients struggling with initial (difficulty falling asleep), middle (difficulty staying asleep) and late (difficulty related to waking up too early) insomnia.
Research shows that sleep can greatly impact depressive symptoms and that CBTi treatment can improve depressive symptoms and sleep simultaneously. Helping clients work with an evidenced based program that supports them in improving their sleep hygiene and quality of sleep can be implemental in their treatment. According to the NYTimes article, “Curing Insomnia to Treat Depression,” two studies have shown that,
“A small amount of cognitive behavioral therapy to treat insomnia, when added to a standard antidepressant pill to treat depression, can make a huge difference in curing both insomnia and depression in many patients”
Once I got started working with clients around using SHUTi, I became very curious around the specifics of the program. While I knew about the theory, techniques and evidence behind the program, I had not experienced using the program myself. One month ago that changed. I began by reviewing the core trainings (psychoeducation modules about sleep hygiene, how behaviors and thoughts can impact sleep, and tools to use to improve sleep). I started keeping sleep diaries and practicing what I learned. Here is what I noticed…
First off, it was very hard to change sleep habits that I had been engaging in for longer than I can remember. It was not easy! An important tool for improving sleep is to only use your bed for sleep. No reading, watching TV, eating, or chatting on the phone – all things I can be guilty of. During my first night committing to SHUTi it was a struggle to not get on my laptop and start to research an upcoming trip I was planning. When I couldn’t fall asleep within the first fives minutes I started to think about what type of airbnb’s I could find in the area. I ultimately gave in and found my top five accommodation preferences but ended up not falling asleep for another hour and felt exhausted the next day.
It was also hard to commit to going to bed by a certain time. SHUTi helps you create a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. While I had planned to go to sleep by 11pm that first week, a dinner with friends ran late and left me with a delayed start. While I struggled at first to stick to my goals at the start of my SHUTi experience, the more I have been able to stick to a schedule and commit to the sleep hygiene recommendations, the easier it has been to overcome these barriers.
I’ve started to notice improvements in my sleep. I fall asleep more quickly and wake up less frequently throughout the night. And, when I do wake up in the middle of the night, I fall back asleep more easily. Ultimately I have already found myself feeling more rested in the mornings and less anxious about getting enough sleep throughout the week. While it definitely was a difficulty to make the changes SHUTi advised me to make in the beginning I have ultimately found them worth the challenge.
For More Information
The Editorial Board (2013 Nov. 23). Curing Insomnia to Treat Depression. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/