Sleep restriction therapy

Sleep restriction restricts sleep to the length of time which the person is likely to sleep. This may be equivalent to promoting 'core sleep' at the expense of 'optional sleep'.(35) Sleep restriction primarily aims to improve sleep efficiency. Since sleep efficiency is the ratio of time asleep to time in bed, it can be improved either by increasing the numerator (time spent asleep) or by reducing the denominator (time spent in bed). Insomniacs generally seek the former, but this may not be necessary, either biologically or psychologically. Sleep restriction first involves recording in a sleep diary and calculating average nightly sleep duration. The aim, then, is to obtain this average each night. This is achieved by setting rising time as an 'anchor' each day and delaying going to bed until a 'threshold time' which permits this designated amount of sleep. Thus the sleep period is compressed and sleep efficiency is likely to increase.

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