Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) is a 6-8 sessions treatment program that can help people who have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or find that sleep is unrefreshing. CBTI is a scientifically proven, highly effective way to end insomnia without relying on medications such as sleeping pills. This goal-directed therapy will also teach you a set of skills that can be useful if insomnia recurs later in life, as it often does. CBTI has long-lasting benefits and most participants report improved sleep satisfaction.
CBTI is more than just basic sleep advice. It is directed by a trained medical professional with expertise in treating sleep disorders. The therapy may be administered by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another medical doctor who has received specialized training. Increasingly, it may be delivered in alternative ways as well.
CBTI consists of several components that are tailored to the patient’s individual presentation. Stimulus control, developed by Richard Bootzin, is a set of instructions that address conditioned arousal. These instructions strengthen the bed as a cue for sleep and weaken it as a cue for wakefulness. Sleep consolidation training is a procedure developed by Arthur Spielman. It was originally designed to eliminate prolonged middle-of-the-night awakenings but it can also help with problem falling asleep at the beginning of the night.
This step-wise procedure aims to first improve sleep quality and later worry about its quantity. Initially the time spent in bed is restricted to the amount of sleep that is currently feasible. In subsequent steps the time spent in bed is gradually increased.
A third component of CBTI consists of strategies for reducing sleep interfering thoughts and worries, managing stress, calming an active mind that won’t shut off when trying to sleep and relaxing. The key is shifting from “trying hard to sleep” to “allowing sleep to happen.”
CBTI takes into account people’s biological clocks and aims to align bed time and rise time with an individual’s internal clock. This may sometimes involve properly timed exposure to bright light.
In assessing your individual situation, the specific triggers that contribute to your insomnia can be identified and defused. With careful guidance, you will learn to develop healthy and effective sleep behaviors. By mastering skills to calm the mind and manage stress, it will be possible to ease into sleep and not wake with your mind racing. As part of this, efforts will be made to help recognize and eliminate thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that compromise sleep.
No matter why you have insomnia, or for how long you have had it, CBTI can effectively help to end it. It even helps those who have a general medical condition that interferes with sleep, including those afflicted with pain or mood disorders such as anxiety or depression.
This individualized program will address the specific goals you have related to your insomnia. For some, this may mean falling asleep more easily, sleeping through the night, sleeping without the use of pills, or improving daytime fatigue.
The program can also help young children who are resistant to bedtime, adolescents or adults who stay up late and sleep in due to delayed sleep phase syndrome, or people with recurrent nightmares.
Your CBT program could be anywhere between 5 and 20 weeks, depending on your problem and the treatment program you and your therapist agree on.
CBTI is the single most effective insomnia treatment.
CBT-I is often provided by a doctor, counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist trained in this form of treatment. Practitioners with experience in CBT-I can be found through professional organizations such as the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine.
Unfortunately, due to the widespread need for this treatment, there aren’t enough CBT-I professionals to meet the current demand. In response, researchers have developed new ways of offering CBT-I, such as digital, group, and self-help formats.
Due to the widespread need for CBTI, there aren’t enough professionals to meet the current demand. We have developed online ways of offering CBTI.
Join the 3-week sleep plan to get rid of insomnia and establish good sleep habits. All programs are based on CBTI.