For people that have insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be beneficial in helping with a reduction of symptoms. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep.
Chronic insomnia can interfere with your daily activities and may make you feel unrested or sleepy during the day. It has also been linked to many illnesses and diseases as the body is not getting adequate rest to heal and replenish itself properly.
Many American’s who suffer from insomnia turn to sleep drugs to help them get some rest. But these drugs come with many problems. Side effects and drug interactions mean that they should not be used for long-term use. Also, once patients stop taking them, insomnia may return, requiring another dose of drugs.
An Alternative to Drugs
A new type of therapy for insomnia is gaining popularity among doctors who are looking for alternatives to sleep drugs for their patients. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) is a non-drug treatment that can improve sleep by changing patients’ beliefs and behaviors suffering from insomnia.
This type of therapy has become more popular since the American College of Physicians issued a guideline in 2016 calling it the first-line treatment for chronic insomnia in adults, preferred over sleep medications.
CBTI equips patients with skills to help them overcome insomnia so they can find relief. It requires no drugs or equipment. It is simply a method of learning how to sleep better.
Sleep expert Rachel Manber, Ph.D., instructs her patients to start by changing the time they wake up. Since many people can’t control when they fall asleep by waking at the same time each day, the internal clock may be toned. This will help the circadian rhythm get back in order.
She also suggests her patients only go to bed when they are sleepy, not tired. Many people don’t know the difference between the two, so they may lay there awake for hours on end. Being tired means you are exhausted, but being sleepy means your body is ready to sleep.
When people lay in bed unable to sleep, they often worry about having another sleepless night and how awful they will feel the next day. This conditions the mind to view the bed as a place of stress and anxiety.
These are just a couple of ways that cognitive-behavioral therapy works for insomnia. By learning new skills and techniques, it is possible to overcome insomnia. If you have insomnia, talk to your doctor today about CBTI.