How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treat Insomnia?

Insomnia 5.16.18Insomnia can have serious health consequences when it’s left untreated. Having poor sleeping habits puts you at a higher risk of having heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health conditions. If you would rather avoid relying on sleep medication - which is only intended for short-term use - and other sleep aids, cognitive behavioral therapy can help.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that involves learning to recognize negative or harmful thoughts and replace them with healthier ones. In terms of insomnia treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you to identify thoughts and behaviors that contribute to a lack of sleep, trouble falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep and replace them with more effective ones. This type of treatment is designed to help you gradually deal with the underlying causes of insomnia, so you can work on overcoming them.

Who Makes a Good Candidate?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a suitable option for those who are looking for long-term insomnia treatment instead of short-term solutions. It is also a good option for those who do not want to take prescription or over-the-counter sleep medications as certain sleep medications are known to cause dependency and lose their effectiveness over time. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also an option for those who have insomnia and are unable to take medications due to side effects or adverse reactions.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

This form of treatment for insomnia does not provide the immediate results that sleep medications do. However, it is a safer and more effective treatment overall. Cognitive behavioral therapy does take awhile to produce results, and it requires effort. If you decide to undergo this type of treatment for insomnia, you can expect to spend several sessions learning to recognize the problems that are causing you to have trouble sleeping. You’ll then work on improving your sleep quality while also learning to replace negative thoughts and behaviors to healthier ones that can help you sleep better.

Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia offers a few important benefits when compared to other types of treatment.

  • Safer treatment: This form of insomnia treatment is not associated with the risk of dependency, serious side effects or adverse reactions  
  • Long-term effectiveness: Cognitive behavioral therapy also provides more effective, long-term treatment by addressing the underlying causes of insomnia rather than only treating the symptoms of this disorder
  • Improved sleep habits: Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you build healthy sleep habits that you can use on a regular basis

How to Prepare for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

You can prepare for this type of treatment by thinking about your current sleep habits and the kinds of thoughts you tend to have while trying to get to sleep. This is the kind of information that you’ll be asked to provide during your treatment sessions. You should also mention your current sleep environment, such as how dark your room is, how comfortable your mattress is or whether or not you have a TV in your bedroom.

If you struggle with insomnia and want to know more about cognitive behavioral therapy for it, please contact Sleep & Neuroscience Associates in Greenwich for an appointment. We can help you determine if this type of treatment is right for you.

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