How Cognitive Behavior Therapy Can Be The Solution To Your Insomnia

If you've ever found yourself staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m. feeling wide awake, you might know the frustration of insomnia. When you don't get good sleep, everything in your life can suffer, from concentration to mood to energy. 

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall and remain asleep (via Healthline). You might spend a lot of time worrying about falling asleep, wake up too early and have trouble getting back to sleep, or wake up feeling sluggish despite a full night of sleep. The sleep disorder can be traced back to anxiety, but sometimes it's caused by stress, chronic pain, sleep apnea, and changes to sleep routines. In fact, about one in three adults reports insomnia symptoms, but it can affect children, too.

Sleeping pills, for starters, can be useful for short-term use when you need to relieve stress or get over being jet lagged (via Sleep Foundation). But these medications can also have unwanted side effects, such as constipation, nightmares, dry mouth, dizziness, or tingling in the hands and feet. Approximately 80% of those who use sleeping pills report a hungover feeling the next day, experiencing drowsiness, lack of focus, or trouble balancing. They can also be habit-forming, so finding alternative ways to treat your insomnia might be worthwhile. Luckily, there are other options for treating insomnia, including lifestyle changes. However, cognitive behavioral therapy might be one possibility that improves your sleep for good.

Cognitive behavior therapy can get to the root of your insomnia

Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) can be useful in treating insomnia lasting three months or more, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In fact, before prescribing medication, your doctor may have you try a therapy method like CBT-I since it works to get to the source of your sleeplessness.

In other words, CBT-I may help you manage your insomnia by confronting the negative thoughts and beliefs you have (via Mayo Clinic). By addressing the worries that keep you awake, you can create healthy sleep habits and change behaviors that are preventing you from a good night's rest. Keep in mind, your therapist could utilize techniques like relaxation training, which includes meditation, muscle relaxation, and imagery. You might also work on improving your sleep hygiene, which includes putting your phone away an hour before bed and avoiding caffeine too late in the day. Additionally, you may be encouraged to try something called paradoxical intention. This actually means avoiding falling asleep and letting go of the worries that come with it.

While sleeping pills are only short-term fixes, CBT-I can provide a long-term solution. However, it takes a commitment of time and energy. Talk to your doctor about the best option to treat your insomnia.