Do you have difficulty falling asleep? Are you unable to return to sleep after waking during the night? Is it really hard for you to wake up in time for work or school? Do you often feel tired, irritable, or lack concentration during the day?
If you regularly experience one or more of these symptoms, and they are causing problems for you in any aspect of your life, then you may have insomnia.
Dr Neralie Cain is a Clinical Psychologist with 10 years experience specialising in psychological treatments for insomnia and other sleep problems. She has previously worked with the Canberra Sleep Clinic, the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health (Repatriation General Hospital), and the Child & Adolescent Sleep Clinic (Flinders University). Neralie is a member of the Australasian Sleep Association, has presented her research at local and international conferences, and has a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in the areas of child and adolescent sleep. She is passionate about helping people to improve their sleep, because sleep problems can effect all areas of wellbeing.
There are many problems associated with long-term use of sleeping pills and other sleep medications, but psychological treatments for sleep problems can be quick and effective. Seeing a psychologist does not mean that you need to be diagnosed with any other psychological difficulties, or that you are “crazy”. No matter whether you have had trouble sleeping for 6 months or 16 years, psychological treatments aim to identify and modify the unhelpful associations that may be working to maintain your current sleep difficulties. The focus is on making practical changes to your sleep habits to improve your sleep quality.
Even if your sleep is influenced by other psychological or medical conditions or medications, we may still be able to make practical changes to your sleep habits to improve your sleep quality. This can occur alongside any other treatments that you may be receiving for other conditions, or you may like to focus on sleep first before tackling more complex issues. Often improving sleep can help to improve other symptoms too.
Children and adolescents can also experience insomnia, and there is more and more research evidence that children of all ages can benefit from psychological treatments for their sleep problems. Neralie has helped many children to overcome difficulties such as bedtime resistance or refusal, trouble falling asleep, trouble returning to sleep after waking during the night, and fear of sleeping alone. She is also a parent of two young children and understands that children’s sleep problems often affect the whole family!
In addition to her work with sleep difficulties, Neralie also provides evidence-based interventions for a range of other psychological difficulties. You can read more about this here.