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Living with insomnia can be a challenge. Fortunately, effective treatments are available that can help people fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and feel more rested during the day.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I or CBTI) is a short, structured, and evidence-based approach to combating the frustrating symptoms of insomnia.
CBT-I focuses on exploring the connection between the way we think, the things we do, and how we sleep. During treatment, a trained CBT-I provider helps to identify thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contributing to the symptoms of insomnia.
Thoughts and feelings about sleep are examined and tested to see if they’re accurate, while behaviors are examined to determine if they promote sleep. A provider will then clarify or reframe misconceptions and challenges in a way that is more conducive to restful sleep.
CBT-I is often called a multicomponent treatment because it combines several different approaches. Sessions may include cognitive, behavioral, and educational components.
People with insomnia often spend too much time lying in bed awake. Sleep restriction limits time spent in bed in order to reestablish a consistent sleep schedule.
This technique is intended to increase the drive to sleep and can temporarily increase daytime fatigue.
Sleep restriction begins by calculating the total time spent asleep on a typical night using a sleep diary. Time in bed is then adjusted to reflect this amount, plus 30 minutes.
Here are a few relaxation techniques commonly taught in CBT-I:
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