Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a multi-component treatment that addresses patients' sleep-related cognitions and behaviors. The goals of CBT-I are:
- help you fall asleep and stay asleep
- improve daytime functioning
- improve quality of life
What is Insomnia?
Persons with insomnia may have difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or they may wake up too early. They usually experience daytime consequences of poor sleep, such as feeling tired, having a low energy, feeling more easily irritated, and having trouble with attention, concentration, memory, relationships, and school/work performance.
What is Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia (CBT-I)?
CBT-I is a non-medication treatment of insomnia that is based on scientific knowledge about sleep. Sometimes CBT-I might be combined with medication from a prescribing provider if needed on a very short term basis (i.e. 6 weeks or less). The goals of CBT-I are to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and improve your daytime functioning as a result of better sleep at night. The treatment is highly individualized in which the trained provider adapts a structured protocol to the needs of each patient. The “cognitive” part of CBT-I focuses on thoughts, feelings, and expectations about sleep and insomnia that may stand in the way of good sleep. The “behavioral” aspect of CBT-I helps people adopt personal sleep habits that, based on the science of sleep, will help them sleep better.
CBT-I has been shown to work as well or better than hypnotic medications, and the benefits continue long after active treatment ends. CBT-I is an established, highly effective treatment protocol, that has been shown to be effective in treating insomnia across many patient populations, including those with comorbid chronic pain conditions, cancer, mild traumatic brain injury, depression, and PTSD. The benefits of CBT-I extend beyond sleep, and include improved mood, reduced irritability, and better overall quality of life.
How long does CBT-I take?
You attend 6 sessions with a CBT-I therapist to receive a sleep-focused treatment. Each weekly session lasts approximately 50-60 minutes. In some cases, extra sessions may be needed and in other cases your insomnia may get better in fewer than 6 sessions. You do not need to stop other mental health therapies or sleep medications while you are in CBT-I treatment, although many individuals do come to treatment with the goal of being able to sleep with out over the counter or prescription sleep aids.
What happens during treatment?
The CBT-I therapist will conduct an extensive interview regarding your sleep difficulties and will ask you to set goals for your treatment. This will help the CBT-I therapist decide on the best course of action. You will then meet with the CBT-I therapist to learn about sleep and insomnia, and learn ways to help improve your sleep problem. To help the treatment succeed, you need to be an active partner in solving your sleep problem. It is important that you discuss with your CBT-I therapist any problems you have with recommendations made in the course of treatment and work with the therapist to come up with solutions to these problems. Your improvement will depend upon your commitment to making changes to your every day sleep behaviors. You will be asked to monitor your sleep using a simple sleep diary each morning. The information you provide in the sleep diary is a central part of the treatment, without this information your CBT-I therapist will not be able to help you get the most benefit from the treatment.
Will CBT-I work for me?
Most people with insomnia benefit from CBT-I. A large body of research demonstrates that CBT-I improves sleep. Importantly, continued use of the skills you learn in CBT-I could help you sleep better long after the therapy ends. Although it is unrealistic to expect that a bad night of sleep will never happen again, the skills will learn in CBT-I will help reduce the likelihood of experiencing insomnia in the future.
How do I find out more?
Contact Family Resources for an appointment with Dr. Tabitha Carlson, who is certified to provide CBT-I.