What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)?
CBT-I is a type of therapy for people who have trouble falling and staying asleep. Sleep research shows that mental and behavioral interventions are often as effective as medication for individuals voicing insomnia complaints, and, unlike medications, often produce durable results that last after treatment is over.
CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Insomnia) is based on the concept that chronic insomnia, which can last from months to years, is maintained by dysfunctional behavioral and cognitive (mental) factors, the latter including self-talk and beliefs about sleep that are unrealistic or uninformed. The dysfunctional behaviors and thoughts subsequently effect physiological arousal and/or the experience of anxiety that ultimately impedes being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. CBT-I targets decreasing the strength of factors that are causing, promoting, and/or perpetuating your insomnia complaint(s) or that have contributed to causing an acute/transient insomnia to take on “a life of its own” (i.e., cause short-term insomnia to become chronic).
Your therapist will work with you to figure out what’s keeping you awake at night and how you can improve your sleep. The key components of CBT-I are sleep/bedtime restriction, "cognitive restructuring" (the therapist's challenging your unrealistic or uninformed beliefs about sleep, including teaching you how to change negative sleep thoughts to positive sleep thoughts), "stimulus control" (describing ways to minimize your time in bed while you are awake), and improving the quality of your "sleep hygiene," the latter often needing to be individualized according to a person's constitutional and personality make-up (different people relax in different ways).
Contact our clinic for more information or if you think CBT-I might be for you.