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Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can cause difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and being unable to fall back asleep.
You can read all about insomnia here if you'd like. But I won't be sad if you don't want to. As long as you're happy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a widely accepted treatment for chronic sleep issues and is often the first recommended treatment.
CBT-I can help individuals identify and change thoughts and behaviors that contribute to sleep problems and establish healthy sleep habits.
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What is cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help individuals identify and change negative or unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
CBT is very effective in the treatment of insomnia, a condition characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep.
It's first-line treatment for insomnia for a reason. It's been shown to be one of the best treatments for insomnia, given its high success rate and no side effects!
If there was a medication that had the same success rate and no side effects, everyone would be taking it. So why not try CBT-I?
Insomnia can have a variety of causes, including stress, anxiety, and depression. CBT for insomnia works by targeting the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to poor sleep. This may include identifying and changing negative beliefs about sleep, establishing a regular sleep schedule, and implementing relaxation techniques.
One common technique used in CBT for insomnia is sleep restriction therapy. This involves setting a consistent bedtime and wake time and reducing the time spent in bed awake. By restricting the time spent in bed, individuals can learn to associate the bed with sleep, rather than with being awake and anxious.
CBT may also involve stimulus control therapy, which aims to strengthen the connection between the bed and sleep by limiting activities in bed to sleep and sex. This may involve getting out of bed when unable to sleep and engaging in a relaxing activity until feeling tired, rather than lying in bed awake.
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization, may also be used in CBT to reduce tension and anxiety and promote sleep.
Remaining passively awake is another useful technique, where you try to stay awake in bed, which may do the opposite and help you get to sleep.
These are just a few of the techniques used by therapists.
It is important to note that CBT for insomnia typically involves working with a trained therapist. While some individuals may find relief from insomnia through self-guided CBT techniques, others may benefit from the structure and support of working with a therapist.
Working with a therapist can speed up your journey to a good night’s sleep!
Some people improve in as few as two sessions, whilst some people need up to eight or more.
Sound good? Because it is!
Is cognitive behavioural therapy better than sleeping pills?
Sleep medications can be a useful short-term solution for addressing sleep problems, especially during times of stress or grief.
However, they may not be the most effective long-term treatment for insomnia. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) can be a good alternative for individuals with chronic sleep issues, those concerned about becoming dependent on sleep medications, or those who have experienced side effects from medication.
Unlike medication, CBT-I addresses the root causes of insomnia rather than just temporarily relieving symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) can be beneficial for individuals with various sleep issues, including insomnia and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
Additionally, the positive effects of CBT-I tend to be long-lasting and there are no known negative side effects.
However, it requires time and effort to be effective. In some cases, a combination of medication and CBT-I may be the best approach for treating insomnia.
What to know before going for therapy
There is one very important thing you need to know before you sign up for CBT.
Finding a trained therapist may be challenging due to the limited number of certified practitioners, and you may not have access to one in your area.
But please don't be put off or worried, because I've got a solution for you!
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BetterHelp is one of the best online therapy services available.
They take the time to understand your individual needs and pair you with a very highly qualified therapist who can deliver personalised therapy at a reasonable price.
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