CBT-I: A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Insomnia

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a structured program that helps identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause trouble sleeping. It is a conservative, non-invasive, and highly effective approach to treating sleep disorders such as insomnia. CBT-I helps you find out what thoughts and behaviors cause or worsen problems with sleeping, and teaches you how to replace them with habits that encourage deep sleep. Keeping a sleep diary can help record and understand sleep patterns and treatment progress, as well as identify areas that require more work. Common thoughts and beliefs that may be addressed during treatment include anxiety about past experiences of insomnia, unrealistic expectations about the duration and quality of sleep, and concern about daytime fatigue or other consequences of lack of sleep.

These dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs about sleep can result in behaviors that make it difficult to sleep, which in turn reinforces and prolongs these erroneous beliefs. Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps overcome the causes of sleep problems. It has been found to improve the symptoms of insomnia in up to 80% of people with this disorder, and in 90% of cases it also reduces or stops the need for taking medications to sleep. It is also beneficial for people who do not meet all clinical criteria for insomnia, as well as for people with mental health disorders.