The need for sleep is often discounted as we find ourselves juggling with overwhelming demands. As a culture we minimize the importance of sleep, while at the same time, the mental and physical side effects of poor sleep are widely published. Poor sleep is a symptom of both depression and anxiety and at the same time sleep problems can increase the incidence of stress, pressure, and hopelessness that worsen these disorders. Sleep problems are also known to contribute to digestive problems, heart problems, coronary artery calcification, obesity, diabetes, colon and breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. Sleep problems have even been reported to increase likelihood for relapse following substance abuse treatment for alcoholism.
Birmingham Maple Clinic therapist, Rita Mueller, MA, LLP, is a Certified Sleep Counselor. The training and certification from the Center for Sleep Counseling Studies included year-long training, monthly tele-study group meetings, examination and case study.
Rita focuses on the treatment of clinical or sub-clinical insomnia as associated with depression and anxiety. Sleep counseling begins in the first meeting where the therapist asks questions about the client’s sleep routine. This may include the hours slept each night, typical bed time, wake up time, and the experience of falling asleep each night.
Next, using a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach, Ms. Mueller identifies rigid thoughts and maladaptive behaviors that contribute to poor sleep.
Clients receive weekly homework assignments to track sleep/wake patterns, reflect about time spent in bed, and replace negative thoughts that disrupt sleep. Rita recognizes that the experience of waking up through the night or difficulty falling asleep can cause more and more pressure, specifically for those who are already anxious. She helps people to begin trust the body to take the sleep the body needs as people often lose their intuitive nature to sleep and try to force sleep on the body. She soothingly says “If not tonight, then tomorrow” as a way to build hope and relieve stress around sleep issues.
If you are suffering from sleepless nights you may consider treatment from a Certified Sleep Counselor. To make an appointment at Birmingham Maple Clinic please call (248) 646-6659 or visit www.birminghammaple.com