Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a type of treatment that aims to help individuals with insomnia sleep better. Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, or poor-quality sleep, despite having the opportunity to do so. Insomnia can negatively impact a person’s daily functioning and quality of life, as well as increase the risk for other mental and physical health problems.
Symptoms of insomnia may include difficulty falling asleep at night, waking up frequently during the night, waking up too early in the morning, feeling tired or unrefreshed after sleep, and difficulty concentrating or staying awake during the day. These symptoms may persist for a period of at least one month. Insomnia can lead to fatigue and difficulty concentrating, which can impair performance at work or school and increase the risk of accidents. It can also negatively affect mood, leading to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and irritability. Chronic insomnia is also associated with an increased risk of developing other physical health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia aims to change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to insomnia. It typically involves a combination of education about sleep, relaxation techniques, and strategies to improve sleep hygiene (such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime). It may also involve techniques to change negative thoughts and behaviors related to sleep (such as worrying about sleep or trying to force sleep), as well as strategies to increase exposure to natural light during the day and limit exposure to light at night.
Studies have consistently shown that CBT-I is an effective treatment for insomnia (Spielman, Caruso, & Glovinsky, 1987; Morin, Bootzin, Buysse, Edinger, Espie, & Lichstein, 2006). It has been found to be more effective than medication in the long term, and has fewer side effects (Smith, Perlis, Park, Smith, & Sateia, 2014).
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Morin, C. M., Bootzin, R. R., Buysse, D. J., Edinger, J. D., Espie, C. A., & Lichstein, K. L. (2006). Psychological and behavioral treatment of insomnia: Update of the recent evidence (1998-2004). Sleep, 29(11), 1398-1414.