What is the First Line Treatment for Sleep Disorders?

Sleep disorders can have a significant impact on your life, causing you to feel tired and exhausted during the day. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is usually the first treatment recommended for long-term sleep problems, such as insomnia. This type of therapy helps to evaluate how adjusting behavior can improve sleep quality. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is a national leader in the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders.

They may recommend a night sleep study based on the results of an initial exam and questionnaire. Over-the-counter sleeping pills are often used by patients with chronic insomnia, but this is not recommended as a first-line treatment. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) sets standards and promotes excellence in sleep medicine, healthcare, education, and research. They recommend that adult patients receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a first-line treatment for chronic insomnia.

CBT-i providers can be located through professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the American Board of Sleep Medicine, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine. Documenting nighttime sleep patterns, episodes of wakefulness, and alcohol and caffeine consumption in a sleep diary for one to two weeks before the appointment can help the doctor make the diagnosis. Research has shown that those who slept little generally responded less to CBT than those who slept normally.