Sleep disorders – treatment

We offer various treatment options, with a particular focus on behavioral therapy.

Rules for sleep hygiene

In most cases, it helps if you change your personal eating and lifestyle habits and develop healthy sleep hygiene.

Here are the most important rules for sleep hygiene:

  • Keep to regular sleeping times if possible. But only go to sleep when you are tired.
  • Avoid food that is too late, too spicy, too rich and difficult to digest.
  • Four to six hours before going to bed, you should not drink any caffeinated beverages such as coffee, black tea or cola.
  • The same applies to alcoholic beverages. The daily nightcap or excessive alcohol consumption may make you tired at first, but can lead to difficulty sleeping through the night later on.
  • Refrain from taking long naps. The nap during the day should last a maximum of 15-30 minutes and be before 3 pm.
  • Regular exercise can promote sleep. However, refrain from physically strenuous exercise two to three hours before going to bed, as this makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Make sure you have a healthy sleeping environment, including a good bed, a supportive mattress and a breathable comforter.
  • Your bedroom should be quiet and dark. Ventilate regularly, but avoid draughts. The room temperature should be a maximum of 18 degrees Celsius.
  • Do not stay in bed for too long outside of bedtime. If you can’t fall asleep, get up and distract yourself with a cup of tea or some light reading until you are tired again.

Tips for relaxation

The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to fall asleep and stay asleep. The following tips can help you:

  • A warm bath (34 to 36 degrees Celsius) has a relaxing effect in the evening. Bath additives, for example with lavender or lemon balm, have an additional calming effect.
  • Try to relax mentally. Avoid discussing difficult topics or problems before going to bed. If you have problems, worries or hardships, writing them down on a piece of paper and putting them aside until the next morning can be a relief.
  • In the evening, drink a soothing herbal tea or a glass of warm milk with honey.
  • Do regular relaxation exercises. Methods such as Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or autogenic training are easy to learn and can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia

In the Clinic for Consultative Psychiatry and Psychosomatics, cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia is offered as the first choice therapy for group therapy following an assessment of psychological and physical factors influencing sleep quality. In the therapy program, which lasts several weeks, sleep training is carried out according to the principle of sleep restriction, in which the sleep-wake rhythm is analyzed, bed and sleep times are recorded and sleep patterns are regulated.

Rituals for children

Children’s sleep can be disturbed by various factors. These include exciting experiences, growth spurts or changes in life circumstances. This is not usually a serious problem. However, it is important that children sleep well in the long term. This is not only important for learning and mental performance. If a child does not learn healthy sleeping habits in time, this can result in lifelong sleep disorders.

Evening rituals or fixed routines, such as eating dinner together, putting on pyjamas, brushing teeth and reading a bedtime story, have a positive effect on children’s sleep patterns. It is important that your child can rest in the evening. Therefore, excitement such as exciting TV programs or surfing the Internet directly before bedtime should be taboo.

For patients

As a patient, you cannot register directly for a consultation. Please get a referral from your primary care physician, specialist.

For referrering physicians

This offer is aimed at people between the ages of 18 and 65. Simply assign your patient to us online.

University Hospital Zurich
Department of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine
Culmannstrasse 8
8091 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 255 52 80
Assign online

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