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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Insomnia | Sleep Reset

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Better Sleep Is Possible With CBT-I

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Everyone wants to fall asleep faster and wake up well rested. But, if you’re dealing with insomnia, you can face a lot of frustrations falling asleep. Instead of resorting to pills or supplements, you may want to try cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I. Learn how cognitive therapy can help with sleep.

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What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is an evidence-based theraputc approach that looks at the way you think, what you do, and how you sleep. Using this method, you’ll be treated by a CBT-I provider who will try to pin down what thoughts and behaviors are potentially causing your insomnia.

CBT works on the principle that issues like insomnia are based, in part, on unhelpful behavior and unhelpful ways of thinking. When certain thoughts and behaviors that hinder sleep are identified, you’ll work to change those thoughts and overcome those obstacles to sleep, helping insomnia sufferers get deeper sleep and sleep through the night.

Cognitive behavioral therapy requires increased self-awareness, and cognitive restructuring to be effective. It also takes time, but a good night’s sleep is well worth the effort.

How CBT Works for Sleep and Insomnia

When you’re suffering from insomnia, you may be up most of the night or your sleep may not be restful. With CBT-I, you’ll replace the habits and thoughts that cause these problems with healthy sleep habits. CBT-I treats your sleep problems at the source, so you can sleep without pills or supplements.

Cognitive sleep therapy follows a basic structure and uses multiple tactics, including:

  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Stimulus control
  • Sleep restriction and compression
  • Relaxation training
  • Sleep hygiene

Cognitive Restructuring

Negative thoughts or associations with sleep can be a vicious cycle for insomnia sufferers. When someone with insomnia goes to sleep at night, they may be thinking about their insomnia or the consequences of not getting enough sleep that night. This can cause them stress and anxiety that prevents them from falling asleep.

Through cognitive restructuring, these negative thoughts will be identifiedand discussed. The key is to change these thoughts and restructure them to be more positive. Cognitive restructuring can greatly reduce your sleep anxiety and help you to calm your thoughts and your racing mind at night. Through CBT-I, you’ll learn to reset your expectations, recognize and overcome negative thoughts when they occur, and sleep more soundly.

Stimulus Control

Your bedroom should be a calm and restful place. For people suffering from insomnia, it can be the opposite. Stimulus cotrol in CBT-I involves removing wakeful stimuli from the bedroom. That means no TV in the bedroom, no eating, no working, etc. Instead, your bed should be used exclusively for sex and sleep in order to create a positive and stress-free association with your bedroom. 

Removing stimuli also means that someone with insomnia shouldn’t linger in their bedroom when their condition is keeping them up. If you’re not able to fall asleep in about 10 to 15 minutes, it’s time to go to another room and try again when your eyes are heavy and you feel like you’re about to fall asleep.

It also helps to get out of bed at the same time every morning and avoid longer naps. This will help you manage your sleep schedule and only sleep in your bedroom.

Sleep Restriction and Compression

Speaking of your sleep schedule, sleep restriction and compression can help make it more regular. Lying in bed awake can keep insomnia sufferers from achieving a regular sleep schedule.

Sleep restriction or compression involves setting a new stricter sleep schedule that limits a person’s time in bed. At its most rigid, an individual’s temporary sleep schedule is roughly 5 hours.

While it may seem counterintuitive to sleep fewer hours when you’re already struggling to get enough sleep, SRT adjusts your internal sleep drive (your natural hunger for sleep), and your circadian rhythm.

Through this process, your sleep quality will improve and you begin to fall asleep quickly after getting into bed. Your sleep schedule will also begin to expand, until you’re back and getting the appropriate amount of sleep for you.

Relaxation Training

Relaxation training can help you relax your body and mind, making it easier to fall into a deep sleep. Insomnia can usually cause your thoughts to race and your body to feel stressed, so these techniques can help you calm down at the end of the night.

Here are some techniques that are recommended to try during the course of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia:

  • Breathing exercises can help to increase your mindfulness and get your body to a restful state. Typically, you’ll do exercises where you take slow, deep breaths. With mindful breathing, you can regulate stressful emotions and bring your heart rate down before heading to bed.
  • Meditation can help you focus your mind, allowing you to  let go of stressful thoughts for the night. Meditation also helps with your breathing, so you can combine this with your breathing exercises if you want. When you meditate, you can reduce your stress and anxiety before bed. This makes it easier to fall asleep and avoid thinking negative thoughts.
  • Biofeedback monitoring can track your heart rate, temperature, breathing, and more. With biofeedback data, you can monitor how your sleep is changing from night to night, and you can find out if you’re improving. Using biofeedback devices can also help you see if your other relaxation techniques are making a difference.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation helps you relax your body. It involves tensing and relaxing your different muscle groups. You can also incorporate breathing exercises into your progressive muscle relaxation routine.
  • Autogenic training is a technique that helps you be more aware of your body and the sensations it feels. During autogenic training exercises, you’ll focus on specific parts of the body and let yourself feel and notice the sensations that occur.

Incorporating these habits before bed can help get your body and mind ready for sleep. Your body and mind will also begin to associate these rituals with bedtime, helping you to relax even further.

Sleep Hygiene

Having good sleep hygiene is another way to improve your sleep quality and combat insomnia. Sleep hygiene is the habits and routines you have that involve sleep. But that doesn’t just mean changing your habits and routines right before bed. Having mindful habits throughout the day helps to promote better sleep at night.

Here are some habits you can follow to get better sleep hygiene:

  • Exercise regularly - Exercise helps your body tire and crave rest. Try to exercise 30 minutes per day, but make sure it’s not too close to bedtime.
  • Limit caffeine - No, you don’t have to cut out your morning coffee. But it is a good idea to avoid consumption in the afternoon. Caffeine can stay in the system for up to 7 hours, depending on the person.
  • Avoid late night eating - Digestion makes your body work pretty hard, so avoid eating before bed, especially if it’s a big meal. Try to keep normal eating habits so you’re not hungry before going to bed.
  • Avoid alcohol right before bed - There’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine, but drinking close to bedtime could cause you to wake up and get lower quality sleep.
  • Create a comfortable bedroom - Drop your thermostat somewhere between 60°F and 67°F, invest in comfortable bedding and a good mattress, and keep your room dark and quiet.

These are just a few examples of sleep hygiene. The more you can incorporate into your daily life, the better your sleep will be.

Is CBT-I Effective for Sleep Problems?

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia can be incredibly effective. According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, 70% to 80% of individuals noticed improvements to their insomnia. These improvements included falling asleep faster and sleeping more.

The American College of Physicians also recommends cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia as the first treatment option for those with chronic insomnia.

One of the biggest benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy is it doesn’t require pills or medication. It can also be more effective than medication and the results can be more permanent. CBT can be beneficial for sleep problems in general.

With that being said, cognitive behavioral therapy isn’t an overnight process. It does take time and effort on the part of the patient. The results will come gradually, and incorporating the above techniques will require changes to your routine. As you go, you should track your progress to see what kind of improvements you’re making and how long it takes for those improvements to occur.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often the first course of action for insomnia. It’s also worth trying to change your habits and your lifestyle before resorting to different measures, like medication.

How To Get Help If You Can’t Sleep

When you’re trying to improve your sleep, it can be difficult to do it on your own. That’s where Sleep Reset comes in! You can look at Sleep Reset as a self-sleep clinic you can do at home. You’ll get a personalized sleep program and a dedicated sleep coach who will help you identify your problems surrounding sleep and address those issues at their source. 

In addition to getting personalized sleep attention, Sleep Reset is a natural insomnia solution without pills. That means no grogginess, no side effects, and no dependency. You’ll learn to train your body and mind to sleep better and feel better. Here are just a few things your sleep coach can do for you:

  • Set goals to improve sleep
  • Keep you accountable
  • Provide you with support
  • Analyze your data and make adjustments
  • Give you the tools and habits you need to fall asleep faster, get deeper sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed

Ready to learn more?

Start Sleeping Better With Sleep Reset Today!

To get started with Sleep Reset, all you need to do is take our simple sleep assessment! This will allow us to identify some of your key issues. After your quiz, you can choose to be assigned your own sleep coach and get our dedicated sleep app.

Your sleep coach and our app will give you the tools and the program you need to get better sleep and feel your best!