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A Plan to Get More Sleep

Structure your sleep schedule in a new way

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Updated June 20, 2014

Many people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) struggle with sleep problems. Typical issues are inability to fall asleep and difficulty staying asleep, particularly in times of heavier stress. One possible solution to some of these problems is to structure our sleep schedules in ways that facilitate us getting the best sleep we can.

Dr. Kripke

Dr. Daniel Kripke is a sleep expert from the University of California, San Diego, who has developed a method of structuring sleep schedules to help people get more satisfying sleep. Since some sleep difficulty for individuals with GAD is due to worry and anxiety, using this approach in conjunction with other relaxation techniques may be even more helpful.

The Approach

Essentially, there are two main elements to Dr. Kripke’s approach and several supporting factors. The first is to wake up at the same time every single day regardless of what time you went to sleep. Figure out when the earliest you need to be up is and make that your standard wake-up time. Ideally, this will help you get tired at a regular time at night, making it easier to fall asleep.

The second element is that people should only go to sleep when they are tired. Laying in bed tossing and turning simply because the clock reads a certain time can actually make sleep more difficult than if you stayed up an extra half hour. Kripke also recommends avoiding alcohol, caffeine, sleep aids, and spending time in bed that is not conducive to sleep or your sex life. Read about it in more detail in his free eBook, here.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

Dr. Kripke is emphatic in pointing out that research does not support the idea that people need 8 hours of sleep per night to be healthy. Many professionals view the amount of sleep needed by people as a range where some people need more and others need less to function optimally. Therefore, worrying about that you are not getting enough sleep to be healthy is actually not supported by sleep research. Finally, no approach works for everyone. If this method doesn’t work for you, continue your search to find a method that does.

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