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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Hypnosis vs. Meditation for Insomnia | Sleep Reset

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February 7, 2023

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Hypnosis vs. Meditation for Insomnia

Medically reviewed by: 

Not getting enough sleep can make you feel desperate. Counting sheep until you’re delirious? Putting hope into a “lucky” pair of pajamas? Every idea seems reasonable when you’re exhausted.

Some strange ideas may even be helpful, such as plunging your face into a bowl of cold water. However, for long-term relief, some solutions are better-researched and likely more effective: hypnosis, meditation, and CBT. 

Learn more below. 

What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a focused state of awareness. Another person often induces it, but self-hypnosis is possible with training.

Certain words or tones may help you relax and enter this rare mental space. Hypnosis intends to make you more suggestible. In the hypnotic state, your mind may be responsive to ideas you usually wouldn’t accept. 

A systematic review of more than 100 sleep studies found that hypnotherapy can help people sleep longer and better. Therapists used “sleep-specific suggestions” and age regression, where patients are encouraged to focus on memories and feelings from an earlier age. 

What Is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice used to quiet your mind and balance your emotions. During meditation, you focus on breathing and awareness of the present moment. Visualizations and calming affirmations get used as meditation tools.

There are many different types of meditation, from spiritual to loving-kindness. Research suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a meditation therapy, can significantly improve sleep quality. General mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce insomnia. 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy aiming to change how you think and behave. CBT for insomnia (CBTI) addresses sleep problems by targeting underlying distortions. 

For instance, CBT may help you learn strategies to relax your mind and focus on the present moment if you're having trouble sleeping because of racing thoughts. CBT can help you change unhelpful bedtime habits and reset your internal clock.

CBTI is well-supported by research, showing many patients improving both short-term and long-term sleep quality. CBTI is even effective in treating chronic insomnia, with most participants experiencing reduced symptoms after completing treatment. 

CBTI can be especially effective because the techniques get used to treat underlying mental health issues that can worsen sleep, like depression and anxiety.

Can I Combine CBTI With Hypnosis or Meditation?

Hypnosis, meditation, and CBTI are all methods for improving sleep quality without using drugs or other supplements. All three have been backed by research and offer a variety of tools to address different issues.

If you’re thinking about using these strategies to sleep better, you may wonder if you can combine methods. 

Meditation vs. CBTI is the most straightforward pairing to make. Mindfulness is an inherent part of any CBTI therapy. Simple ways to practice mindfulness include focusing on your body and breathing.

Cognitive behavioral therapy vs. hypnosis can also be linked, but the similarities aren’t as obvious. Both CBTI and hypnosis rely on an easy, relaxed mindset. One study found that adding hypnosis to CBT reduced patients’ stress symptoms more than CBT alone. 

However, it’s unclear whether people suffering from sleep disturbances would see the same benefits. 

Hypnosis vs. meditation differs in intention. With hypnosis, you or your therapist are directly planting suggestions in your mind. CBT is used to form healthier thought patterns and create new habits. 

Start Sleeping Better

Sleep Reset is a program that uses clinically-proven techniques to help you achieve better sleep. Your personalized program can be managed entirely through an app, letting you fix your sleep wherever you are. 

Sleep Reset believes in using CBTI principles to improve sleep. When you use our program, you can improve your health without swallowing a single pill. Our system got developed by sleep experts who understand the unique needs of those who have insomnia and other sleep disturbances.  

Whether you've barely slept for days or just need a bit more rest, Sleep Reset can help you get back to a full night's sleep. We want to help you make lasting changes.  If you're ever struggling with the program, your Sleep Reset coach can provide extra guidance.

If you’re ready to address your sleep concerns with science, take the sleep quiz to start your personalized CBTI journey.