Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, often shortened to CBT, can be used to treat many conditions with the potential of short-term relief of many symptoms. Insomnia is one such condition, and there’s even an entire form of CBT that is devoted to it, called CBT-I (unsurprisingly). Insomnia is a reality for many people living in a society filled with stress and anxiety. With having to meet tight deadlines and be as productive as possible, it’s no wonder we’re losing sleep.
The problem with insomnia is that we can feel unable to sleep even when we WANT to sleep. This is unbelievably frustrating. We might try an antihistamine which only makes us feel tired the next day and doesn’t always work. Plus, it only works when we take it.
CBT-I (CBT for Insomnia) promotes multiple strategies to help combat problems with sleep. One of the main tools is Sleep Restriction Therapy, which instructs clients to not go to bed until late in the evening and to not take any afternoon naps. The client is told to write a sleep diary so as to keep track of their sleep patterns. What ends up happening is that over time, usually a series of a few weeks at a minimum, people find out through their journals what contributes to their sleep difficulties and also start to go to bed earlier as they were able to sleep better and better with the sleep restriction therapy.
So, the journal writing kept track of how well the person slept and the sleep restriction therapy led to better quality sleep. With the collaboration of the therapist, you’re able to discover more of what might be contributing to your insomnia that you didn’t realize before. In addition, the therapist can work with you, especially with the journals to see how the sleep restriction helps your sleep patterns as well.
CBT is an evidence-based treatment, and so is CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I). This means the treatment has been empirically-validated in multiple studies, which demonstrates efficacy in multiple trials with patients.
If you’re struggling with insomnia, please do not hesitate to give me a call! We can work on this issue together and I’m confident we can resolve it. It’ll take work but we’ll collaboratively set goals so you finally get a restful night of sleep on a regular basis!