The Role of Occupational Therapy in Achieving Healthy Sleep Patterns

Occupational therapists have for a long time acknowledged the impact of sleep on occupational performance. That is in fact why the American Occupational Therapy Association includes rest and adequate sleep as an area of occupation addressed by advanced occupational therapy. That doesn’t and shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that at the moment, there are at least 80 recognized sleep disorders, each disorder leading to various negative results such as:

  • Poor performance at work
  • Stress
  • Depression

All these are problems or rather challenges that occupational therapy assistant and practitioners uniquely address. Note that occupational therapists work with patients following medical diagnosis so as to create behavioral changes that facilitate active daytime participation as well as performance.

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Role of OT

Occupational therapists use knowledge of sleep disorders, sleep physiology and evidence based sleep promotion techniques to evaluate and address functional impact and ramifications of sleep disorders and insufficiency. Therapists develop individual sleep routines that help patients to demarcate day and night. They also train and help patients to use recommended equipment such as the sleep apnea mouth guard. Effective therapy which includes work out programs facilitates arousal and fosters socialization. This reduced involuntary napping during the day and improves sleep maintenance as well as latency. Bedding management, pajama preferences and sleep hygiene may also be used in occupational therapy to achieve desired results.


Therapists evaluate patients in areas that contribute to sleep disorders. They study such things as sleep latency, which is basically the period one takes to completely fall asleep. A good occupational therapist will ask you if you have ever taken a sleep test before. The therapist will then take a look at the test results as well as your doctor’s assessments. Note that the whole therapy treatment process is always not easy for patients. It is therefore recommended that you approach your therapy programs with an open mind.  You also need to note that several things can trigger bouts of sleep apnea episodes.  This could happen because:

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  • You try to compensate for sleep loss
  • You don’t adhere to stimulus control instructions

Most patients have issues keeping up with sleep hygiene and adhering to stimulus control instructions.  Sleep hygiene has everything to do with maintaining regular sleep and wake up patterns. Sleep stimulus on the other hand is a behavioral treatment for sleep disorders designed to overcome conditions that come with several repeated and unsuccessful attempts to fall asleep. Remember that apart from therapy, such things as eye masks and blackout curtains may enhance the quality of your sleep.

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Choosing the Right Therapist

Your doctor should help you choose the right occupational therapist. Not because that is part of his or her responsibility to you, but because they can always point out good therapists more than other people. It is important that you choose a therapist who employs evidence based and proven occupational therapy programs. This is the only way you can be sure that by the end of your therapy, you sleeping habits will have improved for the better.

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More tips

Restful and adequate hours of sleep provide the foundation for peak occupational performance, engagement in daily activities and socializing. This is the concept that is consistent and directly linked with development of modern day therapy. All occupational therapy schools use the concept as the basis of their therapy training.  Keep in mind that even effective occupational therapy techniques can be hindered by one’s unhealthy habits. That is why therapists often advice patients to be patient with the whole therapy program and sacrifice habits that frustrate achievement of healthy sleeping patterns. Such habits include excess alcohol consumption, overuse of sedatives, chain smoking, overworking one’s self and over reliance on sleeping pills.

Family Therapy Techniques That Can Help You Manage your Sleeping Disorder

It’s unfortunate how conditions like sleep apnea can cause rifts between couples and resentment amongst siblings. It’s unfortunate because most of the time, the person suffering from sleep apnea can really do nothing to curb his or her condition for good. That’s why family therapy programs exist. It sounds simple, like attending sessions where you vent out your frustrations or just enjoy some talk therapy.

Looking at it more closely, it’s not really that simple as there is much more into family therapy than just attending sessions and opening up through talk therapy.  Effective family therapy involves cognitive behavioral treatments for sleep disorders and lifestyle modification like:

  • Sleep hygiene
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Relaxation training
  • Sleep Restriction therapy
  • Stimulus control

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Relaxation training and sleep disorders

Therapy methods like deep breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, self hypnosis and imagery are all effective when it comes to treating sleep disorders. Take progressive muscle relaxation for instance – it involves helping an apneic patient to sequentially relax his or her body’s major muscle groups. It also involves concentrating on contrasting sensations of relaxation and tension.

Cognitive therapy

This is perhaps the most effective therapy technique out there. It helps people with sleep apnea to identify and rectify inappropriate beliefs and thoughts that contribute to not just sleep apnea but also insomnia. It can give an individual the right information about reasonable sleep goals, age related sleep changes and the influence of taking naps and working out. What’s more, it does not consume as much time as structural family therapy and functional family therapy do. This is why most patients prefer this type of therapy over the others.


Stimulus control

Otherwise known as SC, Stimulus Control applies mostly to couples. It is a simple practice in which the bedroom is reserved for nothing else but sex and sleep. It derives its concept from the notion that sleep disorders may be caused by bad bedroom associations and use such as watching the TV. As such, the bedroom should be exclusively reserved for sex, sleep and dressing.  For this reason, SC happens to be an effective marriage and family therapy technique.

Sleep restriction therapy

The concept behind sleep restriction therapy is very simple. It implies that excess time in bed only worsen sleep problems. It therefore suggests that a person should limit his or her time in bed to only that time when he or she is supposed to sleep.

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Sleep hygiene and sleep disorders

Sleep hygiene is not as complicated as it sounds. It involves habits, environmental factors and practices that are essential for getting sound sleep. It stresses on four important factors:

  • Circadian rhythm
  • Aging
  • Stimulants
  • Psychological stressors such as deadlines

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Medical treatments

It all starts with watching out for sleep disorder symptoms such as heavy snoring. It then goes to seeking medical assistance on time. This way, curbing a sleep disorder like sleep apnea becomes really easy because the condition is easy to manage while it’s still at an early stage. You may have to buy a sleep apnea mouth guard at some point, but don’t worry. After sometime, you will get used to the device.

In conclusion

You don’t have to worry about attending family therapy sessions. You also don’t have to worry about going for treatment to curb your sleeping disorder menace. They are just but simple solutions that seem big but in essence they are manageable and very easy to adapt to. What’s more, there is always something you can do to improve your sleep disorder symptoms. Avoid stress, don’t drink too much, quit smoking, keep off sedatives, work out more often and stick to healthy diet.  

Basic Couple Therapy Facts You Should Know

It sounds strange and subtle to some but some of the healthiest relationships have been brought down by how a couple behaves in bed. Snoring! The culprits here are mostly men for reasons that can be medically explained. Unfortunately, the problem is always beyond their control. There is little they can do to help themselves because snoring or even gasping is a sure sign that one is suffering from a sleeping disorder. It could be circadian rhythm sleep disorder or worse still, sleep apnea. Either way, there is always a solution. It may not offer permanently relief but like they say, half a loaf is much better than none. Go for couple therapy.


It involves a wide range of methods, approaches and different couple therapy techniques that have been proven to work. It should however be noted that though most therapy programs work, they do take time. That’s why patience is key when undergoing couple therapy. Some of the most common psychotherapy methods that can benefit couples include:

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  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Advanced and integrative behavioral couple therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy

Of all the said therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy happens to be the shortest one in terms of duration than the other forms of therapies. A patient simply participates in 16 sessions or even less. There is also emotionally focused couple therapy, which often takes longer since there are two people involved.

How therapies work

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You may have to go through some sort of talk therapy at some point. If your therapist is skilled and good at what he or she does, then talk therapy may be enough to help you and your partner get along. How so? The technique used in nearly all couple therapy programs aimed was developed from well researched theories and techniques of psychoanalysis. In this therapy approach, there is an underlying connect your emotional problems are often based on unconscious motives and conflicts.


Taking your treatment seriously is the best gift you can give yourself. You may have to buy a sleep apnea mouth guard or a CPAP device if your condition is severe. This means that you’ll have to get used to the device one way or the other, and end up feeling frustrated should the device take long to offer you some relief. In the end, you can easily get depressed and worsen the rift between you and your partner.  To avoid all these, ensure that:

  • You have the right device
  • You use it well

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 Ask your doctor to help you understand how to use your mouth guard well.  If possible, get a customized device. That way, you’ll have to put up with something you like. Then remember to read the instruction manual that comes along with all breathing devices. Again, ask your doctor or medical equipment for clarification should you have problems understanding the instruction manual.

Therapies and destructive habits

Most couple therapy experts will tell you that every once in a while, they deal with couples who struggle

with alcohol issues. Truth is, excessive alcohol consumption is directly linked to sleep apnea. A shot of tequila, a shot of whiskey or a bottle of beer may make you tipsy but it will not make your fall asleep.

Alcohol relaxes tissues at the back of your throat, making it hard for you to breathe when you are sleeping. Sleeping pills have the same effect. With that in mind, try the best you can to quit habits such as excess alcohol consumption, chain smoking, over reliance on sleeping pills and use of sedatives.

It’s good to go for couple therapies. It’s also good to go an extra mile and eat healthy, seek appropriate medical assessment of your problem and keep off unhealthy habits. That way, you’ll overcome your problems with ease.

What is Child Therapy?

Child Therapy, also known as Child Psychotherapy, is the creation of a beneficial and healing relationship which focuses in the improvement of the social and emotional well-being of the child. Child therapy is different from adult therapy in the following manner:

Focus of Treatment

The focus of treatment for child psychotherapy is to let them explore the possibilities of developing a strong self, emotional stability, good communication and good relationships. Children are still in the process of looking forward of becoming who they want to be in the future. Adult therapy focuses on the past experiences of the individual to find the source of trouble or problem.

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Unlike adult therapy that uses open communication, child psychotherapy uses child therapy toys, child centered play therapy, games, and other non-verbal activities to communicate with children. Children are not good with using words to express how they really think and feel so the therapists should be using both adult and children language.


Sometimes children lose track of self-awareness as they try to fit into the expectations of others and of themselves. They need to realign once more the experience of true awareness of self in a free environment where they are welcome to be their true selves without criticisms and expectation. This kind of environment fosters parent child interaction therapy and allows a growing trusting relationship with the therapist. This happens because the therapist has the ability to create space where the child can grow and explore his true self. The psychotherapist becomes the guide amidst the baffling territory of development and emotion.

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There are five goals that child therapy is trying to achieve. These are the following:

  • Promote Self-Esteem
  • Enhance Communication
  • Inspire Development
  • Construct an Emotional Catalog
  • Increase Emotional Vocabulary

Signs That Your Child Needs Therapy

It is difficult to pinpoint directly if your child needs therapy. The best way to know is to go through an evaluation to establish a basis for therapeutic intervention. An evaluation assessment usually lasts between one to three sessions for the therapist to draw out a conclusion whether your child needs therapy or what are things you can do to modify behavior if the child doesn’t need professional assistance.

There are few significant signs to watch out to consider your child needing therapy and seeking professional help for their children.

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  • Change in Behavior

As a parent, you know how your child behaves most of the time. You know your child’s pattern of activity and moods day in and out. When you notice a change in the behavior of your child, ask him/her first of what could be going on. When you think or feel that you are not getting the truth of the matter, then it might be a right approach to seek a consultant.

  • Decline in Grades or Attendance in School

There are days when kids are refusing to go to school every now and then but it is a different case when their grades are greatly suffering and attendance in school is also becoming a mainstay problem. This could be an indication that there could be a problem in well-being and functioning. School performance is a concrete measure of well emotional stability. Teachers and guidance counselors are great help persons to counsel your child in school.

  • Life Changes

A change in school, divorce, moving up to the next level, death of relatives or pet are all stressful situations that could prove detrimental to the emotional and psychological well-being of the child. Your child may be suffering sleeplessness due to sleep apnea that can be resolved with using sleep apnea mouth guard. If you notice your child might not be taking longer than their peers in coping with these life changes, then it could be a wise move to consult a therapy.

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  • You Child Asks for Therapy

It can be surprising to hear your child asking for therapy. But it is a common situation in the present time when children are getting more access to healthcare as they are seeing with their peers. Try not to judge your kids. It will mean no harm to get your child evaluated by professional counselors.

  • Self-Inflicted Injuries

Most children don’t have the means to express what they truly feel so instead of verbal communication they resort to acting out the stress they feel emotionally. They may try to harm themselves, try to starve themselves or express intention to die. These behaviors can cause the parents enough anxiety to seek out for a second opinion.

When in doubt, seek your child doctor and ask for opinions regarding the change of behavior. It is usually best to get a professional evaluation of your child as soon as you are aware of these signs and behaviors. The earlier you can detect the problem, the earlier it could be resolved. Don’t wait until the problem has become severe and out of control before seeking out professional help.