Pathways to Sleep IC. From Health to Sleep–The Stress Reduction Pathway

Pathways to Sleep IC. From Health to Sleep–The Stress Reduction Pathway

William Bergquist, Ph.D. and Gay Teurman, Ph.D.

Stress-reduction is a no-nonsense pathway. It is specifically intended to help people get and stay healthy—and one of the major areas in which stress-reduction might be most helpful is in helping us fall asleep and stay asleep. Given the proven record of stress-reduction as an effective pathway to sleep, it is not surprising that it receives considerable attention in the literature on sleep quality. Furthermore, it is not surprising that the field of stress-reduction is filled with many diverse practices and strategies. There is an expansive foundation of bio-social-psychological research that supports the various practices now being employed. We will not attempt to survey this literature or identify all of the stress-reduction practices, but will instead focus on stress-reduction and sleep (building on what we have already presented in the previous essay on exercise and sleep).

The Nature and Challenge of Stress

This pathway is the one most of us living in a very challenging environment want most to work for us. We are fortunate (and unusual) if we don’t face some stressful situations in our personal and work life and if we don’t bring these situations with us when entering the bedroom. In dealing with this pathway, we will first return briefly to our current understanding regarding the sources of stress, and then turn to specific stress-reduction strategies that might help us get a good night of sleep.

When you try to go to bed, you lie awake for hours not being able to sleep. When you finally do sleep you toss and turn all night with a pit in your stomach. You start the next day feeling hungover and sluggish, which makes it that much harder to face those typical obstacles at work and home and life, so you feel even more wiped out. Repeat ad infinitum. Ugh. This is a typical cycle of stress. Many of us are too familiar with this scenario and how to get off this merry-go-round.


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About the Author

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Gay TeurmanGay Teurman, Psy.D., M.F.T., is an individual and group psychotherapist, pending BCIA certification as a Neuro psychologist. Dr. Teurman currently is the Director and founder of Brain Health Clinic in East Sacramento. The Brain Health Clinic is a health psychology clinic that specializes in Traumatic brain injury, memory loss, Post traumatic stress disorder, post concussive syndrome, chronic depression/anxiety and many other conditions with holistic treatment interventions. Dr. Teurman has extensive experience in the areas of program planning and development, and the formulation of state regulations and professional mental health standards as they relate to client treatment, patient rights and client/patient confidentiality, and related ethical issues. Dr. Teurman has substantial experience in conducting clinical assessments, co-occurring disorders, clinical supervision and health psychology. She frequently makes presentations to professional audiences on various psychological issues and provides training sessions on psychological assessment and research. Dr. Teurman has broad-based experience in government system analysis and implementation of community-based legislation.

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