Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

I’m sure that one in every three readers here has seen ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)for Insomnia and wonder, what is that? Well, CBT for insomnia is simply an approved method of treating insomnia without the use of sleeping pills. It refers to use of techniques aimed at addressing the mental elements associated with insomnia, with an aim to eradicate the worry and other adverse emotions that comes with the inability to sleep. CBT is aimed at conquering insomnia and misconceptions that perpetuate it. Sounds unbelievable, right?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Importance of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT)

  • Healthy sleep worksheet.

CBT helps people with poor sleep worksheets establish the desired sleep pattern. Its behavioral aspect encourages people to develop a ‘pro-sleep’ routine and helps them achieve a strong bond between the bed and comfortable sleep. After a while, falling asleep and staying in bed becomes natural and automatic.

  • Reliable sleep.

CBT trains people how to get a comfortable and enough sleep from night to night, all time. It ensures you shun all the uncertainty of what the night will hold by causing you a stable and satisfying sleep.

  • Leads to a more productive workday.

The learned CBT techniques help its followers to feel better during the day by ensuring they feel more organized and in control.

  • CBT helps reduce worry and anxiety of lack of sleep by providing reliable information about sleep.

 

Why CBT for Insomnia and not Medication?

Evidently, when most of us are desperate for sleep, they find it easier to reach a sleeping pill to rescue them. Little do they know that this seldom addresses the underlying symptoms, if anything, their over-dependence often makes sleep problems worse in the long-run. Even if your insomnia requires the use of these sleeping pills sleep aid, experts recommend combining the pills with therapy and healthy lifestyle changes.

Unlike medication, CBT does not only improve your sleep by changing your behavior before bedtime as well as changing the ways of thinking that keep you from falling asleep. It also helps improve relaxation skills and changing lifestyle habits that impact your sleeping patterns.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

How is the CBT for Insomnia Training Administered?

This is normally delivered over a CBT for insomnia manual over the course of 6 to 8 weekly direct sessions with a trained therapist who teaches the person techniques to use in order to improve their sleep. Today, online CBT-i sleep diary allows people to access proven techniques to conquer insomnia. Essentially, the length of therapy is dependent on the severity and the type of your sleep disorder. While CBT is not an immediate or easy cure, it is relatively short-term.

 

Does CBT for Insomnia Really Help?

For the sake of doubting Thomas, CBT is an ‘evidence-based therapy’ that has been developed after years of research. True to its word, it can teach people how to fall asleep faster, stay asleep and feel better during the day. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs), a standard method used for evaluating if a therapy is effective has repeatedly proved that this treatment truly works.

The most vital attribute of CBT for insomnia is that it actually treats the cause of insomnia itself – and not just the symptoms alone as medication does. CBT can be combined with medication for patients who require rapid relief or to help initially terminate a pattern of insomnia.

Research results reveal that CBT helps around 75% of people who suffer from recurring sleep issues to improve their sleep to the desired levels when compared to the no treatment condition which has a relatively little impact. In normal cases, it is usual to report average scores- which basically include those who least benefitted and those who saw great improvements.

 

Components of CBT for Insomnia

The main components are:

  • Cognitive therapy
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Sleep hygiene education.
  • Stimulus control
  • Sleep scheduling
  • Sleep restriction
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Evaluating CBT and Factors that Affect It

Charity begins at home, considering this, the first step in evaluating one’s insomnia is doing a careful self-analysis of your sleep pattern. This helps eradicate potential sleep disorders and identify cognitions and behaviors that are adversely affecting sleep. Major psychological factors that affect sleep are mood disorders, substances such as alcohol and anxiety disorders. Medical problems such as diabetes, chronic pains and hormonal changes during menopause for women may also interfere with sleep.

Learn about your sleep pattern, you may even need to keep a sleep worksheet for a while to get an idea of your sleep pattern and factors affecting it. Note down factors such as intake of caffeine, nap takes tobacco, time of getting into bed, time of turning off the lights, time of waking every morning and time for getting out of bed.

Note your thoughts about sleep. These may occur while you’re just lying awake on your bed at night or anytime. Your line of thinking has an effect on your state of sleep.

Consider your lifestyle and how it’s affecting your sleep. These may include your gym session schedule and the time you take your meals. They may be a key contributor to insomnia.

Evaluate your stress levels. Is it your job’s pressure or the over-arousal of stressful life situations that are affecting your insomnia? Well, managing your stress will undoubtedly help avoid insomnia.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Some the Common Techniques Used in CBT Insomnia

Depending on the prevailing needs and symptoms, your therapist may employ a variety of techniques, some of which includes:

  • Stimulus control therapy that helps identify and change sleep habits that hinder you from sleeping well. It simply entails learning to use your bedroom for just sleep and sex, rather than other functions that distract your sleep.
  • Abdominal breathing. This involves breathing deeply with not only the chest but also the lower back, belly, and ribcage to ensure relaxation. Take deep but slow breaths while closing your eyes. Breathe in and out through your nose and mouth respectively making each breath even deeper than the last.
  • Recommendation on improving your sleep environment and hygiene. Generally, the environment should be dark, quiet and comfortable. Sleep hygiene entails ensuring regular exercises during the day and avoidance of caffeine and related drugs before sleep time.
  • Continuous muscle relaxation. Ensure you’re in a comfortable position from your feet and then tense the muscles as tight as possible. Hold for a while as much as you can, and then relax. Try to repeat this for all muscle sections in your body. Work your way up to the top of the head and be keen on any changes.
  • Paradoxical intention.’ This entails a deliberate act of remaining active before sleep. It helps unwind and keep worries and other anxiety at bay thus improving your capability to fall asleep.
  • Relaxation training. Meditation, breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxations, when practiced frequently, can help relieve tension and help you relax at night in preparation for sleep.
  • Mindfulness meditation.Relax, preferably while sitting and focus on your natural breathing and how you usually feel in the moment. Allow thoughts and emotions to freely flow without any sort of judgment, always trying to refocus on your breathing and the entire body.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

What to Do in Order to Make it Successful

See, making improvements to your sleep calls for commitment and time. Finding a trustworthy therapist is priceless. Let him/her be your ‘partner’ in your recovery. Importantly, you ought to ensure you adhere to therapist’s advice. In case you feel the journey is challenging and you start getting discouraged with the pace of recovery, just know that conquering insomnia gets effective in the long run, What’s more, patience always pays and no efforts ever go unrewarded.

 

Lifestyle Practices that Support CBT and Enhance Ability to Sleep

  • Being physically active: Routine exercise relieves anxiety and stress thus improving sleep. Aim at exercising 30 minutes or more hours before bed and see the difference.
  • Mind your meals –and when. Basically, you should avoid late meals and beverages containing caffeine for at least eight hours before bed.
  • Stress management: Whether its work stress, school or family that’s making you experience sleep disorders, you may need to minimize it by handling it in a productive way and remaining positive.

 

Bottom Line

Insomnia affects different people in varied ways over time. It may entail difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or a combination of the two. Taking stock of your sleeping patterns and talking to your therapist for advice on the appropriate CBT practice for you is overly wise. CBT for insomnia will undoubtedly effectively solve your insomnia issues thanks to its well conducted and proved research studies. Knowledge being power, CBT for insomnia reviews and taking a course in the same may prove handy in the long run. Ultimately, consistent use of this therapy will undeniably get you to a good, natural night of sleep. No pills, no side effects, no nothing – just a wonderful, refreshing sleep! Zzzzzz… all the way.

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