Unraveling Insomnia: Is CBT-I an effective approach?
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. Insomnia, particularly when it becomes a chronic issue, can significantly impact one’s quality of life. It’s not just about feeling tired; it’s about the frustration of lying awake at night, the anxiety about not getting enough sleep, and the way it can seep into every aspect of your day, affecting mood, energy levels, and overall well-being.
Chronic insomnia often develops due to a combination of factors, including certain thoughts and behaviors related to sleep. For instance, some individuals may develop a heightened state of alertness and worry around bedtime, leading to a cycle of anxiety and sleeplessness. This is where the role of sleep hygiene, while important, may fall short. Good sleep hygiene practices such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding caffeine close to bedtime can certainly help promote better sleep. However, these practices alone are sometimes insufficient in resolving insomnia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a structured program that helps individuals identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep. CBT-I can be an effective treatment for insomnia for several reasons:
- Addresses the Root Cause: Insomnia often starts as a response to stressful life events, certain medications, or medical conditions. However, some individuals develop chronic insomnia, which persists even when the initial triggers are gone. CBT-I targets the thoughts and behaviors that maintain and strengthen insomnia, breaking the cycle of chronic, learned insomnia.
- Highly Effective: Recent studies demonstrate that CBT-I is effective in 70-80% of patients. It works better than sleeping pills and helps 90% of patients to reduce or eliminate sleeping pills.
- Improves Co-morbidities: Not only does CBT-I treat insomnia, but it also improves co-morbidities. For instance, it doubles the improvement rates of depression compared to antidepressant medication alone in depressed patients with insomnia.
Insomnia doesn’t have to be a life sentence. With CBT-I, individuals can unlearn the thoughts and behaviors that fuel their sleep problems and learn new ones that will have them sleeping soundly. If you or someone you know is struggling with insomnia, feel free to reach out to schedule a free phone consultation with our CBT-I certified therapist.
Further Reading and Resources
For more information on CBT-I and insomnia, you may find these resources helpful:
- American Psychological Association: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
- National Sleep Foundation: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
- Mayo Clinic: Insomnia treatment: Cognitive behavioral therapy instead of sleeping pills
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.