Types of Sleep Therapy: What You Need to Know

Sleep therapy is a type of treatment administered by a sleep psychologist to help individuals overcome sleep problems. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi or CBT-i) is the most common first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. This type of therapy focuses on restricting sleep time in order to increase the desire to sleep and temporarily increase daytime fatigue. In people with insomnia, imprecise or dysfunctional thoughts about sleep can lead to behaviors that make it difficult to sleep, which in turn reinforces these thoughts.

A sleep therapist will perform a detailed evaluation to determine the reasons why sleep is being impaired and use multiple treatment techniques to address them. Rather than immediately reducing the time spent in bed to the number of hours spent sleeping in a normal night, the time spent in bed is gradually reduced until it gets close to the time actually spent sleeping. CBTi can help improve the quality of your sleep by examining and testing thoughts and feelings about sleep, as well as evaluating behaviors that may be hindering sleep. Your therapist may also recommend modifying some aspects of your sleep environment to make it comfortable and conducive to uninterrupted sleep.

Additionally, tasks between sessions may include keeping a sleep diary, practicing how to question automatic thoughts or beliefs when they arise, and improving sleep hygiene practices. A healthcare provider will analyze sleep study data to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder. While you can't prevent all types of sleep disorders, you can reduce your risk by adopting good sleep habits.