What is Sleep Restriction Therapy and How Can it Help You Sleep Better?

Sleep restriction therapy is a common feature of virtually every type of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi). It is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that uses reverse logic to help people struggling with insomnia sleep better. It involves limiting the amount of time spent in bed, which can help improve sleep quality and duration. Research continues to show that CBT-I is an effective treatment for insomnia, and it has some benefits for other conditions as well.

CBT-I is generally considered to be the most effective treatment option for chronic insomnia. It helps you change thoughts and behaviors that prevent you from sleeping well, and teaches you new strategies for better sleep and healthy habits. Although it is generally safe, there may be some negative effects associated with the components of cognitive behavioral therapy, particularly sleep restriction therapy. Understanding potential treatment-related adverse effects has important implications for patient care.

Sleep restriction therapy is usually introduced in the second or third session of CBT-I protocols, and the sleep interval may not be calculated based on the daily values prior to treatment, but based on the sleep parameters measured during the first two weeks of CBT. It can result in fewer awakenings and more consolidated and efficient sleep, but diligence and consistency in following a sleep schedule are key. Napping can also be associated with poor sleep quality, so it's important to get enough quality sleep to reduce the risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. The Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine has a directory of behavioral sleep medicine providers that offer cognitive behavioral therapy. If you're struggling with insomnia, CBT-I may be an effective treatment option for you.

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