Although sleep aids may be an effective short-term treatment for sleep disorders, some patients experience side effects such as amnestic episodes, cognitive impairment, and morning hangovers. The behavioral components go beyond the information commonly found on the Internet (or what your friends and family tell you), such as avoiding caffeine or electronic devices just before bed, as the focus is on limiting overall time spent in bed (yes, you read that correctly, spending less time in bed), getting out of bed when you’re awake, and keeping regular sleep and wake times. In fact, it is now recommended as a first-line treatment for chronic insomnia, even before taking sleeping pills. CBTi, often falsely portrayed as talk therapy or sleep hygiene, includes both behavioral and cognitive therapy to treat sleep disorders.
How does cognitive behavioral therapy treat sleep disorders?
Cognitive restructuring is beginning to break this cycle by identifying, questioning, and changing the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to sleep disorders. 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. 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. The cognitive aspects of CBT include the thinking challenge, also known as cognitive restructuring, in which you question the negative thinking patterns that contribute to your sleep problems and replace them with more positive, realistic thoughts.