Sleep restriction – How to outsmart the sleep disorder

Sleep restriction is understood to mean that the sleep time is consciously reduced in order to treat sleep disorders . What actually sounds like a contradiction leads to great success in practice.

By sleep a sleep abutting effect is triggered. This helps to treat problems sleeping through the night. This therapy method is also known as sleep compression.

If you suffer from insomnia, you should first consult a doctor in order to use this form of therapy. Since sleep is deliberately shortened, this can have far-reaching effects on sleep behavior . Before you aggravate the existing sleep problems, you should clarify with the doctor whether this form of therapy could be useful for you.

Do you know that when you go to bed on time, but still can’t sleep after hours?

Sleep problems are widespread in the western industrialized nations. Around 10 to 20 percent of residents complain of poor sleep quality. Here there are mainly problems falling asleep.

As a result, those affected may lie in bed for around 8 hours, but not use this time to sleep. Only a small proportion of the time in bed is actually slept. The problem here is that falling asleep becomes more difficult the longer the person concerned lies in bed.

Here, the cause must first be found out, which is why it is difficult to fall asleep. Psychosomatic reasons are often to be cited. Stress and problems in everyday life lead to these becoming conscious during the night and the thoughts cannot be let go. The longer this brooding lasts, the more stressful it is felt.

After all, not only do the problems that already exist come to the fore , but sleep deprivation comes to the fore. With every hour that is spent awake in bed, the effective sleep time decreases and there is great tension.

The next morning, those affected feel drained and can barely cope with their everyday lives. As a result, the problems accumulate and the sleep problems intensify.

The goal of sleep restriction is to break this vicious circle. This is achieved by greatly reducing the time spent in bed and adjusting the time to bed . If those affected go to bed around 10 p.m., but do not fall asleep until around 3 a.m., the time in bed should be adapted to sleep. As the duration of therapy increases, bedtime is extended so that the healthy rhythm is gradually restored.


Medicines are often used to manage sleep problems. However, if there are psychosomatic reasons for the poor quality of sleep, it makes more sense to address them with behavioral therapy .

With sleep restriction , the time in bed is reduced to up to 5 hours. However, this should only be done under medical supervision or supervision. The short time in bed means that the sleep time cannot be more than 5 hours. This restriction has some effects that can lead to healthy sleep behavior in the long term.

A maximum of 5 hours of sleep at night lead to a sleep deficit in those affected This increases the sleep pressure and ensures that you can sleep better through the night. Ideally, the lack of sleep also improves sleep behavior. It is important that the specified sleep and wake-up times are strictly adhered to. In extreme cases, this can mean that at the beginning only a sleep duration of 2 or 3 hours should be achieved. Due to the lack of sleep, it is easier to fall asleep and the obvious problems are reduced.

Another effect is related to sleep hygiene. Anyone who spends a long time in bed loses the association of the bed with sleeping. Rather, the bed is now associated with the stress that is triggered by the sleep problems. A healthy relationship with the bed is re-established through the shorter time in bed and the higher proportion of sleep. Mentally the connection is made that the bed means “to sleep”.


Even if this form of therapy sounds very tempting and simple, it should not be carried out on your own . It is strongly advised not to start a sleep restriction yourself without consulting your doctor.

That being said, behavioral therapy is a good way for a number of people to regain healthy sleeping habits. The prerequisite for this is that there are no physical or mental illnesses.

If, for example, physical illnesses are cited as the cause of the sleep disorders, behavior therapy does not bring any significant benefit. If, for example, back pain occurs that robs you of sleep, it should be treated first. Basically, the guideline is that the causes of the sleep disorders must be found and treated. Afterwards, a normal process can be restored with the help of the sleep restriction.


The sleep window is essential for the effect. This describes the time in which the person concerned lies in bed. Ideally, this time is spent sleeping and no longer brooding over the problems of the day.

In most cases, a time window from midnight to 6 a.m. is advisable. Within this window, those affected go to sleep and get up again.

Thus the restriction of sleep leads to success, not allowed ower nap of long duration are performed. This would destroy the desired effect and do exactly the opposite.

This first time window will be used as a guideline in the coming days and possibly weeks. As a result, extreme tiredness occurs and performance drops. Sometimes it can make sense to take a break from work and stop driving.

The exact times that are observed depend on the sleep protocol. This is made before the start of therapy and provides information about how sleep has looked so far.


After the first few days and maybe even weeks this time frame has been adhered to, it is extended after a visible success. This is the case when the sleep window is actually used for sleeping and falling asleep is no longer a problem.

So if there is a first sleep window of 4 hours and within the specified time you actually sleep for about 3 3/4 hours, this can be rated as a success. As a result, the sleep window is extended by 15 minutes. The hope now is that the 15 minutes will be available for sleep.

If the enlargement is successful even after the enlargement, the enlargement can be continued gradually until a regular sleep rhythm begins.


The success rates of this therapy are comparatively high. A significant improvement in the quality of sleep is noticed after just a few weeks. Sleep efficiency is used as a yardstick for this.

Sleep efficiency is the percentage of the duration of sleep in the amount of time allotted for sleep. Normally, between 6 and 8 hours are planned as sleeping time. If the entire time is used for sleep, the efficiency is 100%. If, with a planned sleep duration of 6 hours, only an actual sleep duration of 3 hours is achieved, then sleep efficiency of 50% is present.

With the help of sleep restriction therapy, sleep efficiency of 85% is achieved for the most part after just three weeks. After about 6 to 10 weeks, most people will sleep for 5 to 5 1/2 hours. With this sleep duration, a good and restful sleep can already take place.

In order to see the successes and to plan the course of action, a sleep log is made. This shows exactly at what times the person concerned went to bed and fell asleep or got up.


Do you suffer from sleeping problems and find yourself night after night lying in bed but not being able to fall asleep? Are your thoughts racing and preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep?

This behavior pattern can hardly be broken on its own. The tension is imprinted and the bed is perceived as an enemy rather than a friend.

To break this negative cycle , sometimes only one radical method can lead to success. Due to the tiredness caused by the sleep restriction, it is much easier to fall asleep quickly.

After a certain period of time, falling asleep without disturbance becomes a habit and the duration of sleep is extended to a normal level.

Despite the high number of successes, this behavioral therapy should only be carried out after consulting a doctor . Then a significant increase in sleep quality can be expected in about 3 to 10 weeks .

Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

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