CBT-i: The Best Therapy for Sleep Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy or talk therapy that teaches people how to change their behavior by changing the way they think. It is a common treatment for people with anxiety, and a special form of CBT called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) focuses on helping those who suffer from insomnia. CBT can benefit almost anyone with sleep problems, regardless of the cause, and its positive effects seem to last with no evidence of harmful side effects. For those with somniphobia or anxiety about sleeping, there are several treatment options available, such as exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, and medications like benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, and antidepressants. However, the American College of Physicians recommends trying cognitive behavioral therapy before prescribing medication.

Abruptly stopping benzodiazepines can result in serious withdrawal symptoms like delirium and seizures. CBT-i aims to change the perception of sleep and create a more positive approach to bedtime. It can also help with temporary muscle weakness in the legs, sleep paralysis, and complex behaviors during sleep. People with anxiety often experience symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea, poor sleep quality, and excessive sleepiness while awake. To change sleep patterns, it is necessary to change the negative thoughts and beliefs that the sleepless person has developed about sleep due to previous negative experiences. The behavioral part of CBT helps develop good sleep habits and avoid behaviors that prevent one from sleeping well.

While sleeping pills hide the symptoms of insomnia, CBT-i promotes a genuine learning process that restores the body's natural sleep mechanism. In fact, this lack of sleep and the subsequent increase in the desire to sleep is one of the main factors that explain the effectiveness of CBT-i. CBT-i produces results equivalent to those of sleeping pills, as it has no side effects, has fewer episodes of relapses, and causes sleep to continue to improve long after the end of treatment. Risk factors for somniphobia include other sleep disorders and negative sleep experiences, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other medical conditions. To learn how best to treat insomnia, your sleep specialist may ask you to keep a detailed sleep diary for 1 to 2 weeks. Sleep Health Solutions of Ohio is equipped to provide doctors and patients with information about the diagnosis of a wide range of sleep disorders. The five key components of CBT-i are sleep consolidation, stimulus control, cognitive restructuring, sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques.

With this approach, people can improve their sleep and eliminate sleeping pills through behavioral therapy. It is often associated with other disorders that cause negative sleep experiences such as sleep paralysis, frequent nightmares, night terrors and parasomnias.