Discover the Best Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Near You
Everyone finds themselves struggling with their sleep at some point in their lives. Whether it’s a new baby at home or a night spent awake because of a cough, it’s an inevitable part of life. However, sometimes sleep problems are more serious than that. In this case, the person might be struggling with a sleep disorder, the most common of which is insomnia. In this article, we will discuss Insomnia and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder. Someone who has insomnia may have a hard time falling or staying asleep and often have difficulty getting rest. A person with insomnia will often struggle with fatigue and mental exhaustion throughout the day.
There are two types of insomnia: Onset and Maintenance.
If an individual struggles with onset insomnia, it means they have difficulty falling asleep. If they struggle with maintenance insomnia, it means they have difficulty getting their body to stay asleep. Someone can struggle with both forms of insomnia at once.
Insomnia is not considered a chronic issue until the suffering individual has experienced sleep issues a minimum of three nights a week for at least three consecutive months. People with chronic insomnia can struggle with it for years if it goes untreated. Poor sleeping habits, serious health problems, mental health issues, and ongoing difficulties in your social and personal life can all be causes of chronic insomnia.
If you’re struggling with sleep issues that have lasted too long or aren’t connected to a stressful event, you may have insomnia. It’s recommended that you seek medical help with this issue as insomnia rarely resolves itself. One of the leading treatments for insomnia is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has shown great results in helping patients return to a healthier sleeping pattern.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is meant to be used to identify negative patterns of thought and work to change them. It can also be used to change the behaviors that are connected to these negative patterns.
CBT is characterized by the patient’s desire to achieve a particular goal while working collaboratively with a therapist to reach it. It stands on the premise that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected, and changing one can affect others. There are four core principles that CBT follows to achieve this.
The first core principle is cognitive restructuring, which is when the patient and therapist work together to identify negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive thoughts. This change to a patient’s way of thinking can have a positive impact on their emotional health. It can also contribute to the second core principle, which is behavioral activation.
Behavioral activation is the act of a therapist working with a patient to help the patient enjoy activities they no longer enjoy due to negative thoughts or poor mental health. This is a particularly important principle of CBT for patients suffering from depression as a key symptom of depression is losing interest in activities and having difficulty finding enjoyment in life.
The third core principle is exposure. This therapy technique requires the patient to be carefully exposed to triggers that are linked to whatever issue they’re experiencing. When this is done in a safe environment by a qualified therapist, it can help the patient adjust the way their mind responds to the triggers. This is particularly effective in patients with PTSD, anxiety disorders, and phobias.
The final core principle of CBT is skills training. This principle has the therapist teaching the patient how to deal with specific issues using coping strategies and self-management. This principle is key to helping patients control their lives in a way that will positively impact their emotional health.
It’s important to note that CBT is often a short-term treatment as opposed to maintenance therapies that are meant to be performed long-term. A CBT therapist will work with the patient to achieve their set goal. Once this goal is achieved, therapy is often no longer necessary.
How Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help Insomnia?
CBT works so well for patients with insomnia that there has been a specific form of CBT developed solely for the purpose of treating insomniacs. This treatment is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).
CBT-I is a tailored treatment plan that is designed to change negative thoughts and behaviors that can negatively impact a patient’s sleep hygiene, with the end goal being the improvement or eradication of insomnia in the patient. CBT-I is found to be one of the most effective ways to treat insomnia without medication. CBT-I has five core principles.
During this part of CBT-I, the patient learns what constitutes a normal sleep pattern and is educated on negative and positive sleep practices. Gaining a basic understanding of healthy sleep ensures that the patient has a better chance of finding success as they navigate their own sleep patterns and try to change them.
At the start of CBT-I, a patient’s therapist will encourage them to restrict the amount of time they spend in their bed. The patient should only spend time in bed when they are sleeping or actively trying to sleep, as opposed to reading or relaxing in bed. This creates a link in the brain over time, so the mind associates the bed with sleep.
With stimulus control, the patient is guided by the therapist to strengthen the association between the bed and sleep that sleep restriction creates. This is done by limiting what stimuli are in the bedroom, such as a TV or bright lights, to keep the bedroom a place conducive to rest.
A CBT-I therapist will work to restructure the way a patient thinks about their sleep to create a positive thought pattern. By helping to eliminate anxiety and negative thoughts about sleep, this step in the process ensures the patient starts to see sleep as something to enjoy instead of something to dread.
Sleep hygiene is a two-step process. First, the patient should create a routine they can realistically stick to for bedtime and sleep. Consistency is key for your body to successfully rest. Second, the patient should create a sleeping environment that is relaxed and comfortable with little to no stimuli and a bed that is linked in the mind with sleep.
Like CBT, CBT-I usually only lasts for a limited time, often several weeks. The sessions need to be regular, and the patient needs to be dedicated to doing the hard work that accompanies learning new techniques and altering thoughts. If done properly, CBT-I can work wonders in improving a person’s sleep patterns.
If you would like to pursue an online form of insomnia coaching, check out what our sleep experts have to offer you by getting your free consultation today!