Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a structured, short-term, goal-oriented approach that helps clients overcome sleep problems, such as insomnia. Insomnia is a common sleep problem where individuals have difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep, and/or they wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. CBT-I, is an effective psychological treatment for chronic sleep problems and has been proven effective at improving sleep without or with reduced use of sleep medication.
How does cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia work?
CBT-I teaches you to recognize and change beliefs that affect your ability to sleep. This type of therapy can help you better manage negative thoughts and worries that keep you awake. CBT-I also helps you to alter and eliminate many behaviors and lifestyle factors that negatively affect your sleep.
CBT-I starts with a comprehensive assessment of your sleep history, as well as assessing your medical history, psychological history, social and environmental factors that may affect sleep, and your lifestyle. You will be asked to keep a sleep diary for 1-2 weeks that will be used to tailor sleep interventions to the specific nature of your sleep problem.
Depending on your needs, Dr. Harte may recommend some of these CBT-I techniques:
Sleep Hygiene: This involves changing basic lifestyle habits that influence sleep, such as smoking or drinking too much caffeine late in the day, drinking too much alcohol, not getting regular exercise, engaging in non-sleep activities in the bed (reading, watching TV, using electronic devices, etc). It also includes tips that help you sleep better, such as ways to wind down an hour or two before bedtime.
Stimulus Control: This method helps remove factors that condition your mind to resist sleep. For example, you will be coached to: set a consistent bedtime and wake time 7 days per week; avoid naps; use the bed only for sleep and sex; and leave the bedroom if you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes; only returning when you're sleepy.
Sleep Restriction Therapy: This treatment reduces the time you spend in bed, initially causing partial sleep deprivation, which makes you more tired the next night and therefore more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. As your sleep improves, the amount of time you are allowed to stay in bed is gradually increased.
Relaxation Training: Relaxation training teaches you how to relax both your mind and your body. This helps you to reduce any anxiety or tension that keeps you awake in bed. This method can be used both during the day and at bedtime. It involves training you how to better control muscle relaxation, breathing, and mental focusing.