If you’re sleeping only half the time you’re in bed, your sleep efficiency is only 50% says sleep specialist Michael Stevenson, Ph.D. That perpetuates insomnia. The goal is to achieve 90% — and it can be done.
Say you go to bed at 11:00 P.M. because you have to get up at 7:00 A.M. But instead of falling asleep, you lie awake until 3:00 A.M. So don’t get into bed until 3:00 A.M. say Dr. Stevenson. You’ll feel much better, less anxious, if you don’t lie sleepless in bed for the 4 hours you think, you should be sleeping.
After a week of sleeping well for 4 hours a night, go to bed 15 minutes earlier for a week. As you continue to sleep well, each week, give yourself another 15 minutes. If it goes worse, cut time in bed by 15 minutes.
“You sneak upon it a bit at a time,” says Dr. Stevenson, “Almost immediately, people begin to feel better. Ironnically, you’re using sleep restriction as a weapon against insomnia.”
H e warns, however, that this does not work for everyone. Regimented types are most likely to benefit from this exercise