The Sleep Solution

Chris Winter


Sleep hygiene: What follow is an ideal sleep routine. It may not be possible to perform all of these tasks daily, but each one individually has the potential to improve your sleep. The secret to being sleepy at night is to be as awake as possible during the day.

The 20-minute rule
people often believe that if you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, you should get up and perform a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy again. This is fine, unless you develop anxiety about not falling asleep within this artificial time constraint. However, there is nothing wrong with simply lying there; resting without sleeping is still beneficial.

If you consistently cannot fall asleep and don’t feel particularly sleepy, go to bed later.

Spending time in nature (especially sleeping in nature) can improve your sleep.


A self-diagnosed condition characterized by a patient simply not being satisfied with the quality or duration of his or her sleep.
  • Those with anxiety disorders, even slight, are predisposed to insomnia.

  • Insomnia ≠ lack of sleep. A lack of sleep is serious, insomnia typically isn’t.

  • When we are anxious about going to sleep, the anxiety is self-propelling. The more we struggle to fall asleep, the more anxious we become, and the more vigilant we find ourselves.

  • The most effective treatment by far for insomnia is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). It is composed of six critical components:

    1. Sleep education.

    2. Sleep hygiene.

    3. Stimulus control (the bedroom is for sleep, and sleep only).

    4. Sleep restriction (reducing the amount of time we spend in bed not sleeping by going to bed later).

      • Don’t go to bed until you’re exhausted. Imagine that you’re never hungry at 17:00 for dinner. Would you start eating dinner earlier to “make up” for it?
    5. Relaxation training. This entails contracting and releasing parts of the body.

    6. Cognitive therapy. This involves retraining our negative thoughts about sleeping, and is best facilitated by a CBT-I therapist.