Most Effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

By | August 2, 2022

Insomnia is the most common type of sleeping disorder. In insomnia, a person faces problems in falling asleep or staying asleep. When a person has insomnia, he can’t sleep on time and wakes up early in the morning. Due to this, the person can’t get enough rest. About 30 percent of adults are facing insomnia problems. Some medications are available to treat insomnia but adopting therapies helps better in treating insomnia. A person can get insomnia due to different reasons. This condition can be acute (short-term) or can be chronic (long-term). Short-term insomnia can last for a night to a few weeks whereas long-term insomnia can last for several months. 

Most Effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Symptoms of Insomnia

  1. Spending a lot of time laying in bed but unable to fall asleep
  2. Waking up early in the morning and unable to fall back asleep
  3. Start worrying you won’t fall asleep
  4. Broken or interrupted sleep
  5. Fatigue
  6. Difficulty in concentration
  7. Irritability 
  8. Mood changes

Types of Insomnia

There are several types of insomnia depending on the specific characteristics:

  1. Acute insomnia: In this condition, the person faces sleeping issues for some days to a few weeks. 
  2. Chronic insomnia: When a person is facing chronic insomnia, his sleep will get affected for a few weeks to several months. 
  3. Maintenance insomnia: This type of insomnia refers to a condition where the person is unable to remain asleep. The person might sleep on time but often wakes up at night. Maintenance insomnia may occur due to any underlying condition.
  4. Onset insomnia: Onset insomnia means facing difficulty in falling asleep. A person can get onset insomnia due to caffeine use or any kind of mental health problems. 
  5. Behavioral insomnia of childhood: In childhood, kids often have this type of insomnia as they often refuse to go to bed or face trouble falling asleep. 

Causes of insomnia

Primary causes of insomnia

  1. Stress: Any kind of stress in life events such as the death of loved ones, divorce, etc can cause sleeping disorders. The person can face insomnia issues until he treats his stress. 
  2. Disturbing surroundings: Any kind of disturbance near home like airports, railway tracks, etc can cause insomnia. A person can also get insomnia due to temperature or light.
  3. Genetics: Some research shows that a person can also get insomnia due to genes. This sleeping disorder can run in genes. 

Secondary causes of insomnia

  1. Mental health: Any kind of major mental health problems like depression and anxiety can lead to insomnia. To treat your insomnia, you need to treat the underlying condition. You should get proper depression treatment Pennsylvania to eliminate the underlying mental conditions. Your insomnia will also get treated with other conditions. 
  2. Discomfort while sleeping: A person can get acute insomnia if he is facing any kind of discomfort during his sleep. Pain from any injury or uncomfortable bed can cause discomfort while sleeping.
  3. Caffeine or substance abuse: Drinking coffee or any kind of drug can also cause insomnia.
  4. Hyperthyroidism
  5. ADHD
  6. PMS and menopause
  7. Pregnancy
  8. Alzheimer’s disease
  9. Other types of sleeping disorders

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia

Lots of treatments are available for insomnia. However, doctors mainly suggest cognitive behavioral therapy CBT-I for treating this sleeping disorder. CBT-I helps treat most chronic sleep problems. It is a structured therapy where the therapist identifies the problems and then replaces the thoughts and behaviors that are worsening the condition. This treatment helps the person to get sound sleep. 

How does CBT-I work in treating insomnia?

The cognitive part of this therapy helps in recognizing the thoughts and beliefs that are causing the sleeping disorder. After recognizing the problems, the therapist helps to eliminate all those thoughts that are keeping you awake all night. 

The behavior part helps to fill the positive thoughts that can prevent any stress or other problems. It helps to get a sound sleep. 

Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies for Insomnia

Stimulus control therapy

In this type of therapy, your therapist asks you to remove all the factors that are resisting you to get a good sleep. Your therapist will ask you to lay on the bed only when you want to sleep. If you are not feeling sleepy or unable to fall asleep within half an hour, leave the bed and return only when you feel sleepy. This method helps to maintain the bedtime and wake time to get a sound sleep. 

Sleep restriction

Most of us stay in bed for a long time even after fully awake. This habit can cause poor sleep. When a person is in bed, he feels partially asleep, due to this, he can’t get proper sleep at night. In sleep restriction therapy, your therapist will ask you to reduce the time you waste on the bed. When you wake up, leave the bed immediately. Due to this, you will feel more tired at night and will get proper sleep on the bed. 

Sleep environment improvement

A person can get sleeping problems when he has lots of things that are causing the distraction. People love watching TV in the bedroom. But TV can cause sleeping disorders. Your therapist will ask you to remove all the destruction and create a comfortable place to sleep. He may ask you to remove the TV, hide the clock from the view, maintain the temperature of the bedroom, etc. 

Sleep hygiene

You can improve your sleep by changing your basic lifestyle. You need to change habits that can influence good sleep. Your therapist will ask you to avoid drinking coffee late in the evening. Avoiding alcohol can also help in improving sleep. Alcohol helps in getting sleep but due to alcohol abuse, you can get sleep disorders. The therapist will ask to do regular exercises. You can also do some exercises in the evening, it will make your body tired and you can get good sleep.

Relaxation training

The therapist will ask you to adopt techniques that can help in keeping the body and mind calm. He may ask you to do meditation, muscle relaxation, imagery, etc.

Remaining passively awake

In this method, the therapist will ask you to eliminate any worry. People often worry about not getting enough sleep and make an effort to fall asleep. Your therapist will help you to remove all worries so you can relax and fall asleep easily.

Medications for insomnia

Some medications are also available to get proper sleep. However, these medications can also help you in sleep but can’t treat insomnia. You can take these medicines to treat acute insomnia. Some common medications for insomnia are eszopiclone, triazolam, zolpidem, etc. These medications have few side effects like headaches, etc. You should take these medications for a short period only. If you are facing chronic insomnia problems then you should only prefer CBT-I.

Some natural medications like Ayurveda and Homeopathy are also available to treat insomnia. These medications can be very helpful as they also treat the underlying condition. If you are getting insomnia due to stress, these medications will treat your insomnia along with your stress problems. Natural medications are safe and do not have any kind of harmful side effects even if you take them for a long time.