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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia?

CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) is a method of addressing both the behaviors that prevent you from sleeping effectively as well as the thoughts that can interfere with sleep. The behavioral aspect of CBT-I focuses on stimulus control and sleep restriction and sleep hygiene.


CBT-I Research

CBT-I has consistently been proven to be the most effective first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. It improves sleep in 75-80% of insomnia patients and reduces or eliminates sleeping pill use in 90% of patients. And, in three major studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Archives of Internal Medicine that directly compared CBT to sleeping pills, CBT-I was more effective than sleeping pills. CBT-I also has no side effects and maintains improvements in sleep long-term, and new research shows that CBT-I doubles the improvement rates of depression compared to antidepressant medication alone in depressed patients with insomnia.


  • CBT-I puts people to sleep faster than sleeping pills. American Journal of Psychiatry

  • CBT-I works as well or better than sleeping pills. Journal of Family Practice

  • CBT-I is the preferred treatment for chronic insomnia. National Institutes of Health, New England Journal of Medicine review, Lancet review, American Psychological Association, Consumer Reports


Goals of CBT-I

  • Reduce the amount of time it takes to fall sleep at night

  • Reduce the amount of time spent awake in the middle of the night

  • Improve the quality of sleep

  • Improve daytime level of alertness and quality of life

  • Provide the knowledge and skills to help one manage sleep over the long-term without the need for ongoing professional help or medication


CBT-I  Isn’t a Do-It-Yourself Project

Depending on your specific needs, CBT-I may involve more than sleep restriction and stimulus control, such as light therapy in conjunction with other techniques. Talk to a CBT-I provider and see if this process is a good option for you.


What do I look for in a CBT-I Therapist?

You want to make sure your therapist is specifically trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. This is a very specific training that is very focused on insomnia. A CBT-I trained therapist knows what to screen for to make sure you are a good candidate for the treatment. A trained therapist will have a very detailed process to help get you to a fully restful night sleep. Ask if they are specifically trained to help you with your insomnia. If the provider can’t explain their specific training, then they are not a CBT-I provider.


Take the first step to a good nights sleep and contact me to set up your appointment.


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