Cognitive-behavioral therapy for sleep disorders is a structured program that helps you identify thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems and replace them with habits that promote healthy sleep. The most effective nonpharmacological treatment for chronic insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy for sleep disorders (CBT-i). Chronic sleep disorders, characterized by dissatisfaction with sleep quality or duration, are a common health issue, affecting an estimated 10 to 15 percent of adults in the US. The five key components of CBT-i are sleep consolidation, stimulus control, cognitive restructuring, sleep hygiene, and relaxation techniques.
Given the uncertainty about further insurance payments for telephone calls, access to CBTi could be further restricted.
Can CBT help you sleep?
CBT-I is considered effective for many types of sleep disorders and even shows potential benefits for people with short-term insomnia. For CBT-I to be effective, it is important to be open to unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. CBT resulted in the biggest changes in patients’ ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, and the benefits persisted even one year after treatment was completed. CBT not only changes the way you think about sleep, but it also changes the habits and behaviors that can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Practitioners with CBT-I experience can be found in professional organizations such as the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine. However, for chronic insomnia (sleep disorders lasting more than three months), CBT-I is at least as effective as medication in the short term and more effective in the long term.