Cognitive sleep therapy for insomnia

September 28, 2020 3 mins read
Cognitive sleep therapy for insomnia

What if we told you that cognitive sleep therapy could solve your sleep problems for good?

Do you want to catch some z’s, naturally, but insomnia wins the battle most nights? There is a chemical-free alternative for sleep success…

Allow us to introduce you to cognitive behavioural sleep therapy.

What is sleep therapy?

Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is an effective treatment for sleep problems that simply do not want to go away.

The goal of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia is to help you identify any behaviours and thoughts that cause or worsen sleep problems. You then have to try and replace them with ones that promote good sleep.

There are different therapies within cognitive behavioural therapy that can help improve sleep. They include:

Stimulus control therapy

Stimulus control therapy aims to help you reassociate your bedroom with sleep. Do not eat in bed, watch TV or videos on your phone, or work while in bed.

Your bed is for sleep and sleep alone (okay, maybe one or two other activities). You want to train your brain to associate being in bed, with sleep.

Sleep restriction

Instead of lying in bed for hours trying to fall asleep, this treatment encourages you to stay awake. Basically, stop trying so hard to nod off. The goal is to cause partial sleep deprivation.

This will likely make you more tired the next day. However, as your sleep improves, you will start going to bed earlier and earlier. Eventually, you will be getting all the shut-eye you need to feel like your best self.

Sleep hygiene

Another type of CBT-I focuses on improving your sleep hygiene through various lifestyle changes. These include quitting caffeine and alcohol, giving up your cigs, and exercising more. Set a regular bedtime, create a soothing wind-down routine, and avoid blue light exposure before bed.

Improve your sleep environment

Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Keep your room dark and cool, clear out any distracting clutter, and remove your TV.

Remain passively awake

If you are lying in bed, worrying about sleeping, it can make it harder for you to fall asleep. Part of therapy can involve staying awake and avoiding any attempt to fall asleep. This practice is also called paradoxical intention.

Relaxation training

Relaxation training involves doing things to help you relax, like meditating, using imagery, muscle relaxation techniques, ASMR, and doing breathing exercises.

ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) refers to a tingling sensation running from your scalp down your spine. Different sounds and sights such as scratching, whispering, and crackling noises form part of ASMR.

Benefits of sleep therapy for insomnia

One of the main benefits of cognitive sleep therapy is that you are not just treating your insomnia on the surface level. When you treat insomnia with sleeping pills, you can improve the symptoms, but you are not dealing with the underlying causes of your sleep issue. Plus, you can become dependent on pharmaceutical sleep aids.

With cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, you learn to manage your insomnia through thought pattern and lifestyle changes. You learn to manage your insomnia on your own.

CBT-I therapy is an effective long-term strategy for improving your sleep.

Suffering from sleep disorders

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a great option for people who suffer from sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, sleep phobias, and insomnia. With cognitive behavioural therapy, you can gain control of your sleep hygiene and sleep habits. It is possible to condition yourself to sleep well every night.

Never underestimate your ability to train your brain to develop new thought patterns and behaviours. Cognitive sleep therapy just might be your secret weapon for sleep success.