Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Since insomnia is widespread trouble, finding an efficient therapy is important to get a refreshing and restful sleep. The following criteria must be met for at least three months to diagnose chronic insomnia:

  • It is difficult to fall asleep, keep sleeping, or get back to sleep if woke up during the night.
  • A person has daytime insomnia symptoms (fatigue, impaired attention, drowsiness, impulsive or aggressive behavior, irritability, decreased motivation, sleep anxiety).
  • Unsuitable settings for night rest cannot explain sleep disruption (for example,loud noise, uncomfortable body position).

People facing these symptoms may be recommended to try cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (or CBT-I), which is a successful method for dealing with sleep problems. Following this therapy, they can recognize thoughts and actions that disturb sleep and substitute them with routines that encourage proper rest.

CBT-I, as opposed to sleeping drugs, helps overcome root reasons for regular sleep issues. The doctor may suggest journaling your thoughts and emotions for 1-2 weeks to determine the most suitable method of treating your sleeplessness. You can communicate with a therapist online using the CBT for insomnia app if you want to save money and time in comparison with visiting an offline specialist.

What is the mechanism of action of CBT for insomnia?

  1. The cognitive element of CBT-I will help you to notice and change thoughts that prevent you from a deep sleep. That’s how you learn how to manage emotions and concerns that keep you up at night.
  2. The behavioral component of CBT-I helps develop healthy sleeping patterns and behaviors.

Your therapist could suggest any of these CBT techniques:

Stimulus control

This approach helps eliminate the habits that prevent you from going asleep. For instance, you could try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, limit daily naps, leave bedroom if it is hard to fall asleep after twenty minutes.

Sleep restriction

Sleep problems can arise from a habit of staying in a bed without sleep for a long time. Limiting your sleep, for example to six hours, can boost the drive for sleep and let you feel more tired at the end of the day.

Hygiene of sleep

Changing your daily habits which disturb your sleep. It includes quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, reducing coffee intake in the middle of the day or the evening, and exercising.

Enhancing the sleep environment

It’s important to explore your sleep environment anduse recommendations to turn your bedroom intoe a perfect location for sleeping. It includes keeping it cool, silent, dark and free from gadgets.

Relaxation training

Soothing exercises help you learn how to relax both physically and mentally before sleep. These include breathing practices, hypnosis, meditation techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, etc.

Remaining passively awake

Let go of the thoughts about your inability to sleep, and, what is even more important, stop getting upset with yourself for it. The first step is to de-stress and only then go to bed. When your mind isn't focused on falling asleep, you can relax and find it easier to achieve this goal. It is a paradox, but it works.

The most efficient therapeutic plan can include a mix of these approaches.

Drugs versus CBT

Sleep medicines could be rather effective in certain cases, such as managing jet lag.. However, it is not a perfect choice for long-term usage. That is why people facing sleep issues for a long time get concerned about the addiction to sleeping drugs, or side effects. In such a case, CBT-I could be a much safer option.

Contrary to pills, CBT-I targets the true reasons for insomnia, while drugs only treat the symptoms. Sometimes the best course of action is a mix of CBT-I and meds.

Sleep difficulties as a result of other diseases or drugs

Numerous physical and psychological health diseases and insomnia are related to one another. Long-term sleep deprivation contributes to the risk of different diseases, such as hypertension. In addition, some medicines can potentially cause sleep loss. Consult your therapist for advice, if your meds might affect your sleep.

Who might profit from CBT for sleeplessness?

Research proves that most adults facing sleep issues can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Primary insomniacs, and others with medical issues, such as chronic pain or depression, could benefit from CBT-I. Furthermore, there is no evidence that CBT-I produces unfavorable side effects.

CBT is not a magic wand, but with regular practice, it gives long-term results without addiction and side effects. You can practice offline with a therapist, but there are also digital opportunities, such as applications where you can remotely talk with a specialist, develop an individual plan, and so on. The patient should be conscious of his responsibility for therapy success.


About Lauren

Lauren is the Content & Community Manager for Wellness Force Media. According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.

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