Do you have difficulty falling asleep? Or can you fall asleep, but wake throughout the night? How about waking earlier than you would like?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a structured program that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sleep. Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems. To identify how to best treat your insomnia, keeping a detailed sleep diary for one to two weeks is helpful to identify patterns.
The cognitive part of CBT-I teaches you to recognize and change beliefs that affect your ability to sleep. This type of therapy can help you control or eliminate negative thoughts and worries that keep you awake. The behavioral part of CBT-I helps you develop good sleep habits and avoid behaviors that keep you from sleeping well.
Techniques used in CBT-I
- Stimulus control therapy. This method helps remove factors that condition your mind to resist sleep.
- Sleep restriction. Lying in bed when you’re awake can become a habit that leads to poor sleep. This treatment reduces the time you spend in bed, causing partial sleep deprivation, which makes you more tired the next night. Once your sleep has improved, your time in bed is gradually increased.
- Sleep hygiene. This method of therapy involves changing basic lifestyle habits that influence sleep, such as smoking or drinking too much caffeine late in the day, drinking too much alcohol, or not getting regular exercise. It also includes tips that help you sleep better, such as ways to wind down an hour or two before bedtime.
- Sleep environment improvement. This offers ways that you can create a comfortable sleep environment.
- Relaxation training. This method helps you calm your mind and body. Approaches include meditation, imagery, muscle relaxation and others.**VRIT relaxation training is also offered at this practice**
- Remaining passively awake. Also called paradoxical intention, this involves avoiding any effort to fall asleep. Paradoxically, worrying that you can’t sleep can actually keep you awake. Letting go of this worry can help you relax and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Biofeedback. This method allows you to observe biological signs such as heart rate and muscle tension and shows you how to adjust them. This practice can help you by using VRIT with biofeedback.
If you, or someone you know suffer from insomnia, CBT-I with VRIT and biofeedback can be helpful. Contact me for a free consultation.