How to Cope with...

Sleep Disturbance
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What is Sleep Disturbance?

Sleep disturbance is any interruption in sleep. Sleep disturbance may include trouble initiating or maintaining sleep and disordered sleep/wake schedules (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2019).

Causes of Sleep Disturbance

People often experience sleep disturbances when they experience a great deal of stress related to life events or trauma, which make it difficult to sleep.


Symptoms of sleep disturbance may include excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular breathing or increased movement during sleep, irregular sleep and wake cycle, and difficulty falling asleep (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2019)

Possible Outcomes

Sleep disturbance affects sleep quality, timing or duration and can cause irritability, decreased creativity, decreased focus, tremors, aches, and memory lapses or loss.


A large portion of Americans have reported poor sleep quality. Recent studies have shown that as much as 60% of Americans have reported sleep disturbance (Schlarb, Friedrick & Claben, 2017). 

Effective Coping Strategies

Although, this is not an exhaustive list, effective stress management and relaxation techniques for sleep disturbance may include controlled breathing, planning (keeping a sleep schedule), regular exercise, guided imagery, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, ocular relaxation, and avoiding electronics, nicotine and caffeine before bedtime.

muscular relaxation

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The suggested techniques provided on this website are not exhaustive, but rather a small sample of helpful tools. Always remember that when in doubt reach out to a mental health professional . For additional supports and resources visit the NAMI Southwest Ohio or NAMI Northern Kentucky website.
If immediate assistance is needed, call 988 (Suicide and Crisis Lifeline).
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Developed resources in this website are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (Nih) under cooperative agreement number: UG4LM013724 and Northern Kentucky University (NKU) Institute of Health Innovation (IHI).