Wind Advisory from 12AM Thursday to 12AM Friday for Avery, Mitchell & Yancey Counties. Wind gusts up to 60mph, with downed limbs, trees and even power lines possible. Tie down any loose items outdoors.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- It’s a struggle many of us share -- getting a good night’s sleep. There are medications to help treat insomnia, but there’s also another treatment offered here in Asheville that many don’t know about.“Insomnia is actually very common here in Asheville, as it is nationally. It’s really the most common sleep disorder. It probably affects somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of people,” Dr. Elliott Exar with Mission Health’s Sleep Center said.Dr. Exar says the most common form of insomnia is transient insomnia, as a response to a stressor or life change. He says it usually lasts no more than two weeks. Chronic insomnia on the other hand, can last months or even years.“There are many different types of medications that people take to help them with sleep,” Dr. Exar said. “Melatonin, for example, is one of them. But there are other over the counter preparations,” he adds. Dr. Exar says that most of the over the counter preparations contain some type of antihistamine, similar to Benadryl.The side affects of those medications can cause more harm than good. Something that’s common in older people can be a hangover in the morning, Dr. Exar says. Confusion and an increased risk of falls are other possible side affects of taking sleeping medications.For those who don’t want to pursue the route of medication or supplements, the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Center of Western North Carolina provides an alternative. They offer a therapy treatment known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, otherwise known as CBT-I.Even Clinician Lisa Wolfe says the therapy helped with her personal sleep struggle. “You’re learning skills, you know, once you have those skills you can use them, whenever these issues start to crop up,” Wolfe said.Wolfe says she realized she needed help after having a sleepless night, which was uncommon for her. She said the next night is when the problems began, as she worried if it would happen again.Beginning with a patient assessment, the therapy is geared to uncover the barriers in a person’s life that prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep. Tailoring and implementing interventions is the next step.Wolfe says CBT-I helped her recognize the struggle she was in and ways to step out of it. “Because a lot of insomnia has to do with just our internal fight,” adds Wolfe.Behavior Therapist Trent Codd says the therapy is not all new. “CBT-I is really a package that includes a variety of interventions, but many of the individual interventions that are part of the package have been studied and known since the 1950’s,” Codd says.Codd says he feels the therapy is utilized by too few locally. He says that’s possibly because of how people view insomnia, often as a symptom of another illness.By utilizing CBT-I to treat insomnia, therapists say between two to eight sessions will mean better sleep for most. Codd says the therapy can also help those trying to stop using sleep medications, by targeting the underlying difficulties so there is less of a need for the medication.“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and sleep medications are roughly equivalent early on. It looks like the benefits to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are longer lasting, so overall that’s considered actually a better therapy,” Dr. Exar said.Locally, CBT-I is offered at the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Center of WNC. The VA Hospital in Asheville also offers the therapy treatment through their mental health and primary care practices.If you think you may be struggling with a sleep disorder, there are many services in the Asheville area such as those included below.Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Center of WNCMission Health’s Sleep CenterAsheville VA Medical CenterMountain SleepPark Ridge HealthBy: Lauren Brigman
Follow Lauren on Twitter @LBRIGMAN_WLOS
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