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How to Get A Good Night's Sleep

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Antonio Sciacca, 123rf Stock Photo
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We sleep because we get tired. That's the prevailing wisdom for why we sleep, but then why do 30% of people report difficulty sleeping at some point in their lifetime? Problems sleeping can have a real cost on productivity and focus during the work day and can be host to many other psychological problems, says Murray State Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Michael Bordieri. He speaks with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good and shares some solutions through the basic principals of Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI).

For a long time, solutions for insomnia were solved through medications. While these are effective in the short term (a day or two), Dr. Bordieri says, in the long run they carry modest effects. What's emerged over the last ten years is the application of basic principals in other areas of psychology to the issue of sleep deficit. This is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI). It's a short treatment focusing on two main areas.

The first is basic stimulus control: making sure your bedroom is associated only with sleep. That means no watching TV (or tablet device), no reading in bed, no checking email in bed. Train your body so that being in bed only means sleep and only using the bedroom for sleep. Dr. Bordieri adds that laying awake in bed and "trying to sleep" is a good way to not get to sleep. He recommends getting up, doing something else (a non-screen related activity) and going back to bed when you're tired. If you're tossing and turning more than three times before going to bed, then it's a good idea to get up and try again later.

The other focus is on sleep hygiene, or what you do during the day that affects how you sleep at night. One of the primary factors is caffiene intake. He recommends avoiding coffee and other caffeinated drinks later in the day, even afternoon. Also, alcohol can make for a lower quality of sleep. Eat healthy and exercise regularly, but not right before bed as this can cause an elevated heart rate and make sleeping difficult.

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Credit murraystate.edu
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Dr. Michael Bordieri

There's no conclusive research on why sleep is important. Dr. Bordieri cites the saying, "the main reason that we know we need sleep is because we do it." Biologically, we know that cerebral spinal fluid circulates throughout the day and more rapidly at night - like a natural cleaning process. While some people can tolerate fewer than six to seven hours of sleep, doing so comes with a cost even if it's not apparent, like seeing problems with attention. Protecting time for sleep is important for protecting general quality of life.

Dr. Michael Bordieri is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Murray State University and a Clinical Supervisor at the MSU Psychological Center. The Psychological Center is staffed by graduate students in clinical psychology at MSU who provide therapy and assessment services under the supervision of licensed clinical psychologists. The center is open to MSU students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members from the surrounding areas. The center's number is 270-809-2504.

Our next discussion with Dr. Bordieri will be May 19.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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