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When you think of insomnia or poor sleep habits, the first thing that comes to your mind might not be cognitive behavioral therapy, but according to sleep psychologist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, Lynelle Schneeberg, sleep behavior and the way we think about it has a much greater impact on it than most people realize. It is this overlap between psychology and medicine that has always intrigued Dr. Schneeberg, and ultimately what compelled her to enter and become a leader in the field of sleep medicine.

She specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) and explains the “three Ps model” that forms the foundation of her work with patients, which refers to precipitating factors, precipitating events, and perpetuating factors. Precipitating factors, she explains, are personality traits or characteristics that predispose someone to develop insomnia, such as “type A” personalities, and those whose days are consumed by complicated, cerebral tasks that require a level of thinking that’s hard to shut down when it’s time to sleep. Precipitating events are what causes someone to actually develop insomnia, rather than just be at risk for developing it, and these events include stressors such as job loss or a death in the family. Lastly, perpetuating factors are the habits people carry with them even after the precipitating event has passed. Dr. Schneeberg describes how an understanding of these components can help people identify and address them in order to correct their sleep behaviors and ultimately live healthier and happier lives.

Dr. Schneeberg offers a ton of insightful and important information about sleep and alerts listeners to her up-and-coming book that focuses solely on sleep in children. Press play to hear the full conversation, and check out her website at drschneeberg.com.

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