Problems such as persistent difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep, and early morning awakening define chronic insomnia. Additionally, problems with sleepwalking, night terrors, and chronic nightmares (or parasomnias), advanced or delayed phase circadian rhythm disorders, hypersomnolence, and restless legs syndrome, and dependency on sleeping medication are treated.
Assessment of the individual’s problem, computerized treatment for some sleep problems, individual consultation, and group therapy are available. Individual therapy is rarely provided.
Description of services and treatment
Group Treatment Program
Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to strengthen an individual’s ability to cope with sleep loss and to learn new strategies to enhance sleep. Cognitive behavioral therapy is provided in a weekly group, with 6 to 8 members, which runs for 6 weeks. The approach involves: self-monitoring of sleep; education about what constitutes normal sleep; help in identifying personal habits and cues that may be interfering with the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep; teaching of relaxation techniques for use when in bed; cognitive therapy (i.e., help in identifying and challenging the thoughts which may make a person more agitated and sleepless at night); and assistance with tapering off of sleep medications (for those who are interested in this option). Active participation is encouraged and individuals monitor their gains each week using a sleep diary.
Online Treatment Programs
We offer 2, 6-week online treatment programs for those who are interested in this option, or who may have difficulty with traveling to the HSC, and/or who live in rural or remote locations. The first program focus on treating insomnia and the second program focuses on reducing dependency on sleeping medication. All individuals must have high speed internet access to use this resource. Those who complete one or both programs have been found to experience improvements in the quality of their sleep, the severity of their insomnia, and the degree of daytime fatigue experienced. Individuals may use both online and in-person group treatment services.
Norah Vincent, Ph.D., C. Psych.
Maggie Penfold, Ph.D., C. Psych.
Maxine Holmqvist, Ph.D., C. Pysch
PZ-251, 771 Bannatyne Ave
Health Sciences Centre R3E 3N4
All Year Round
Referrals from health-care professionals are welcomed.