Dr. Oz: Sleep Aid Cycle
Dr. Breus explained that sleep is affected by two things. The first is a sleep drive, similar to hunger, which builds throughout the day. Then there’s circadian rhythm. In Sue’s case, both of these things are off. She’s replaced her sleep drive with her sleep pills overtime, so her body doesn’t think it needs to regulate sleep. Then, her anxiety overrides everything.
Dr. Oz: Go to Sleep Later
Dr. Breus’s first tip was to go to sleep later. Most people don’t think about this, because if you have insomnia, you want to go to bed earlier to try to get extra sleep. Instead, Dr. Breus recommends she stay up later to encourage their natural sleep drive through sleep deprivation. This is called sleep restriction, a well-researched method of encouraging sleep.
Dr. Breus said if you go to bed at 11 but can’t sleep until 12, you should actually make your new bedtime 12:30. He also recommends she stick to a rising time, such as 6:30. If you do this for 10 to 14 days without taking naps, your natural sleep drive will have built up to the point where you’ll fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
Dr. Oz: Reverse Power Hour
Dr. Breus also recommends we do a “Reverse Power Hour” before bed, which is spending 20 minutes doing what you have to do, followed by 20 minutes of some form of hygiene like a bath or brushing your teeth, and finishing with 20 minutes of relaxation exercises like prayer, meditation, or stretching. Do all of this outside of bed and then crawl under the covers. This will allow your sleep drive to be high and your anxiety to be low.
Dr. Oz: Taper Off Sleep Medication
Dr. Breus recommended Sue then talk to her physician about coming off her sleep medication. Working with her doctor, she can then taper off the meds until her brain is ready to sleep on its own.