Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. Insomnia makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and stop falling asleep. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, also known as CBT-I, is an effective treatment for chronic sleep problems. It is usually recommended as the first treatment for insomnia.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a structured program that helps you identify thoughts and behaviors that cause sleep problems. You learn to replace these thoughts and behavior with habits that promote healthy sleep. Unlike sleep medication, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems.
To determine how your sleeplessness can best be treated, your sleep therapist may ask you to keep a detailed sleep diary for one to two weeks.
How does cognitive behavioral therapy work for insomnia?
The cognitive part of CBT-I teaches you to recognize and change thoughts and beliefs that affect your ability to sleep. This type of therapy can help you to control or eliminate negative thoughts and worries that keep you awake.
The behavioral part of CBT-I helps you to develop good sleeping habits and to avoid behavior that causes you to not sleep well.
Stimulus control therapy
This method helps remove factors that condition your mind to resist sleep. For example, you can be coached to set constant bedtime and waking time, prevent naps, use the bed only for sleep and sex, and leave the bedroom if you cannot sleep within 20 minutes and only return if you are sleepy .
Lying in bed when you are awake can become a habit leading to a bad night’s sleep. This treatment reduces the time you spend in your bed. This causes you to have a lack of sleep, which makes you tired the next night. Once your sleep has improved, your time in bed is gradually increased.
This therapy method is related to changing habits that affect sleep, such as smoking or drinking caffeine late, drinking alcohol or not exercising enough. It also contains tips that help you sleep better, such as ways to relax before you go to bed.
Improvement of sleeping environment
This offers ways to create a comfortable sleeping environment, for example to keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool, not to have a TV in the bedroom and to keep the clock out of sight.
This method helps you calm your mind and body. Approaches include meditation, imagery, and muscle relaxation.
Staying passively awake
This is also called paradoxical intention, meaning that we avoid any attempt to fall asleep. If you are concerned that you cannot sleep, it may keep you awake. Releasing this care can help you relax and make it easier to fall asleep.
With this method you can observe biological signs such as heart rate and muscle tension and show you how to adjust them. Your sleep specialist can ensure that you take a biofeedback device home to record your daily patterns. This information can help identify patterns that affect sleep.
The most effective treatment method can combine several of these methods.
Behavioral therapy versus medication
Sleeping pills can be an effective short-term treatment. For example, these drugs can provide immediate relief during a period of high stress or sadness. Some newer sleeping aids are approved for longer use. But medication is probably not the best long-term insomnia treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia can be a good treatment choice if you have long-term sleep problems, you are concerned about dependence on sleeping pills or if medicines are not effective or cause unpleasant side effects.
Unlike pills, CBT-i addresses the underlying causes of insomnia rather than just relieving symptoms. But it takes time – and effort – to make it work. In some cases, a combination of sleep medication and CBT-I may be the best approach.
Who can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia?
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia can benefit almost anyone with sleeping problems. CBT-I can help people with primary insomnia, as well as people with physical problems such as chronic pain or mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. It appears to be a safe and effective therapy in the long term without any real side effects.
CBT-I requires steady exercise and some approaches may cause you to lose sleep initially. But stick with it, and you’ll probably see lasting results.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is offered by the psychologists of our partner