What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia? (CBT-i)

define insomnia

Several techniques come under the umbrella of cbt for insomniaAre you are interested in understanding the CBT principles and how they work? Then before deciding if Insomnia treatment is right for you, please find an overview of each technique below. 

Stimulus Control Therapy

Stimulus Control Therapy aims to create a strong association between the bed and sleep and its basic principles are; only go to bed when you are tired, limit the activities in bed to sleep and sex only, get out of bed at the same time every morning and when sleep-onset does not occur within 30 minutes.

Sleep Restriction Therapy

Sleep restriction therapy aims to restore the natural drive to sleep by restricting your time in bed (TIB). So that the time is equal to the average time spent asleep (TST). Your sleep efficiency is then calculated. Then if your sleep efficiency is greater than 90% of time spent in bed (TIB) needs to increase by 15 minutes. However, if it’s less than 80%, reduce time spent in bed (TIB) by 15 minutes.

Sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to a basic set of ‘rules’ designed to control the environment and behaviours that precede sleep. These rules usually involve bedtime routines, diet and exercise, which are all pivotal to our well-being.

Cognitive Therapy

Demonstrating good knowledge of sleep science and the CBT principlesThis therapy is designed to decrease the anxiety and arousal associated with insomnia. Through targeting any dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes you may have about sleep. Do any of the following sound like you?

  • “I cannot function without a good night’s sleep,”
  • “I am worried that I will never get a good night’s sleep”, 
  • “I need 8 hours of sleep to feel at my best”, 
  • “I can only sleep if I take a sleeping pill”, “Insomnia is just part of growing older”.

Relaxation Therapy

Relaxation therapy aims to help you relax before bedtime and helps you fall asleep. Various techniques used by therapists include hypnosis, guided imagery and meditation to define insomnia. Essentially anything that helps you wind down and relax at the end of the day will help. However, relaxation therapy on its own is not considered sufficient treatment for insomnia.