What is the Difference Between Sleep Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help individuals manage their issues by altering their thought processes and behaviors. Professional organizations such as the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine can provide access to professionals with experience in CBT-I. Rather than immediately reducing the amount of time spent in bed to the amount of time spent sleeping during a normal night, the time spent in bed is gradually decreased until it is close to the amount of time actually spent sleeping. The goal is to reach a point where you can sleep for the necessary amount of hours without compromising on sleep quality. Adopting the best practices and proper sleep hygiene habits while eliminating bad habits can be essential for creating a healthy sleep pattern.

Tasks between sessions may include keeping a sleep diary, questioning automatic thoughts or beliefs when they arise, and improving sleep hygiene practices. Good sleep hygiene involves increasing practices that promote and encourage sleep, and reducing or eliminating those that discourage sleep. The behavioral aspect of CBT helps you develop good sleeping habits and avoid behaviors that prevent you from sleeping well. Restricting sleep starts by calculating the total time spent sleeping during a normal night using a sleep diary. To learn how to best treat insomnia, your sleep specialist may ask you to keep a detailed sleep diary for 1-2 weeks.

This will allow you to assess your sleep habits and environment, and evaluate how adjusting behavior can improve your sleep quality. The most common thoughts and beliefs that may be addressed during treatment include anxiety about past experiences of insomnia, unrealistic expectations about the time and quality of sleep, and concern about daytime fatigue or other consequences of lack of sleep. In the meantime, here are some basic principles of sleep hygiene that can be useful for anyone who has problems with sleeping. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps you change actions or thoughts that may be preventing you from sleeping well. In people with insomnia, imprecise or dysfunctional thoughts about sleep can cause behaviors that make it difficult to sleep and, in turn, reinforce dysfunctional thoughts.

Talk to your medical provider or a sleep specialist to see if any of these methods could improve your sleep.