around 87 percent of patients whose insomnia had subsided in four treatment sessions, the depressive symptoms also disappeared, almost twice as often as in patients whose insomnia was not cured. About 60 percent of patients who received seven sessions of behavioral therapy for sleep disorders in addition to the pill recovered completely from their depression, compared with just 33 percent in a control group that received the standard recommendation for treating insomnia. John Torous, co-director of the digital psychiatry program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, there are about a dozen online programs on the market that use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for a wide variety of conditions, including depression, for which there is also strong evidence. Half were randomly given information and advice about sleep disorders, a type of digital “placebo,” albeit active, as such advice often helps people sleep better.
Can CBT be used for sleep disorders?
Working with a professional trained in CBT-I can help minimize the risks of this treatment as they are trained to offer support and tools to address temporary challenges or setbacks. The cognitive part of CBT-I includes researching and evaluating your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors around sleep. CBT-I is a specialized version of cognitive behavioral therapy that combines psychotherapy with techniques that physically prepare the body and mind for sleep. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers its own app called CBT-I Coach, which is suitable for both non-veterans and veterans.
CBT-I is considered effective for many types of sleep disorders and even shows potential benefits for people with short-term insomnia.