How cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia works

sleeping

Have you ever noticed problems with your sleep? Do you fall asleep immediately or toss and turn in bed for a long time? Do you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night? Are you often awake at night? If any of this sounds familiar, it might be that you have a sleep disorder. At worst, you may suffer from insomnia.

Over 60% of people around the globe say they have difficulty sleeping. Young adults and the elderly are both affected by sleep disturbances. Over 70% of seniors have sleeplessness. This issue, if untreated, might result in other health issues.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is now commonly used to relieve sleeping problems. We’ll explain exactly what it is and how it works.

Effective insomnia therapy

Often, people pay little attention to the first symptoms of insomnia. One may believe that sleep issues are only momentary and that everything will be well soon. However, they can develop into much more serious sleep problems if left untreated. Not always can people figure out what might cause problems with sleep. Instead, they find a way out by taking sedatives or sleeping pills. However, sleep specialists recommend much safer and more efficient treatments. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective approaches known today.

The method focuses on changing behavioral and mental patterns that might cause disturbances. If pills ease the symptoms, the therapy helps manage the root causes of inadequate sleep.

therapy

What does this therapy include? 

This therapy has two primary components, as the name suggests. The cognitive part of the process involves identifying and changing thoughts and beliefs about sleep.

The behavioral part of the process involves adjusting your sleep and daily habits.

Sleep specialist helps identify problem areas, as well as provide recommendations. Depending on each patient’s situation, professionals specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT) employ various strategies and procedures. Here is what the therapy includes:

Elimination of negative factors

If you do not understand what causes your problems, you can struggle with the symptoms for years. Knowing what triggers your sleep problems may be challenging, so a specialist can help you find the cause much faster.

Besides, a therapist may recommend you create your bedtime schedule. This applies to what time you go to bed and what time you wake up every day. Additionally, you can take advantage of calming techniques before bed, such as listening to soft and soothing music.

According to this method, you should also limit your daily naps to 30 minutes and use your bed for sleep and sex only. People may stay in bed longer than needed, which may evolve into an unhealthy habit. This method assumes that you will no longer have any non-sleep activities in bed.

sleep

Stop forcing yourself to sleep

It would be best if you didn’t force yourself to go to bed. If you can’t fall asleep now, you should choose other activities instead. It can be stretching, reading a book, or something that will keep your mind busy but not excited.

If you keep doing this, you’ll feel increasing fatigue over time. Also, you won’t associate your bed with feeling anxious or stressed due to sleep loss.

Changing habits

Smoking, drinking coffee, or consuming alcoholic beverages can negatively affect sleep. Lack of physical activity or infrequent physical training may also impact this.

This strategy aims to give up habits that disturb your rest. An expert can suggest physical activities to practice before bed, such as deep breathing or meditation. All in all, therapy helps you rethink your lifestyle.

Improving sleep environment

The harsh light and late-night feed scrolling prevent your body from producing melatonin. Those who put gadgets away a few hours before bedtime, as well as dim the lights in the room, can fall asleep easier. Otherwise, your body gets out of sync with the day and night hours.

A specialist may also ask about your sleeping place and suggest changing what contributes to sleep problems. For example, you may be recommended to use blackout curtains or keep your room cool (60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit).

laptop in bed

Calming activity

If you lay down feeling irritated, you won’t be able to relax. A professional will recommend soothing techniques to reduce anxiety and balance mood. This may include diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, body scan meditation, and other activities.

Relaxing practices help ensure that you never again go to bed at night feeling agitated. If you’re relaxed and tired, you’re more likely to fall asleep faster. Also, you will no longer associate your bed with a place where you spend a long time without sleep.

Keeping a sleep journal

 

A sleep specialist can suggest you keep a journal for several weeks. In the beginning, you may record everything that happens to you before you go to bed. After starting treatment, you may write down techniques that help you calm your body. In addition, you may note things that still continue to block your healthy sleep. This way, you can also track the progress of therapy. Based on this, the sleep coach will adjust an individual plan.

Conclusion

Many people who suffer from sleep disturbances can use sleeping pills, take longer naps and stick to other activities that just ease the symptoms. CBT-I appears to be one of the most effective and safest therapies as it addresses the reasons that prevent you from falling and staying asleep. Also, this therapy is widely available and provides long-term effects. If you have any sleep issues, you should consult a sleep coach who uses CBT-I to assist you in getting back to sound and healthy sleep.

 

 

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Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.

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