“When I lie down, I start to think of all kinds of things. Suddenly my mind is busy, and I can’t turn it off.”
“I can fall asleep in my chair in front of the TV, but as soon as I get into bed I feel wide awake.”
“I’ve tried going to bed earlier, to give myself time to wind down, but I just keep tossing and turning.”
“I get angry- it’s so hard for me to sleep!”
We live in a society that normalizes sleep deprivation. Grocery stores and gas stations are open 24 hours. Millions of dollars go into promoting highly caffeinated beverages, and it seems that everyone is looking for an extra energy boost. We live fast-paced lives, and then expect to simply power down when it comes time for sleep.
For some of us though, sleep has become an additional source of worry and stress. While insomnia can develop for a number of reasons, certain thinking styles and behavior patterns can perpetuate sleeplessness. Quotes like those listed above reflect the frustration of chronic insomnia. Everyone experiences insomnia at one time or another but when sleeping problems become frequent, they can affect productivity, health, and social relationships.
Sleep is much more than a dormant phase in our day. During sleep, the body repairs itself, consolidates memories, and grows. In fact, sleep is as fundamental to health as eating. When sleep is poor, mood declines, attention suffers, thinking may become distorted, and pain sensations can worsen. Fortunately, there are very effective treatments for insomnia, including behavioral methods. Many people prefer learning behavioral techniques to improve their sleep over continued use of sleep aids or medication, and behavioral interventions often have long-lasting results.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Insomnia is an effective, first line treatment for insomnia. CBT for Insomnia is a brief, evidence-based treatment designed to help a person learn skills to develop better sleep quality. Treatment is offered locally in the Lehigh Valley, at the Center for Integrated Behavioral Health in Bethlehem. For primary insomnia, a course of treatment is typically 6-8 weekly sessions, but if insomnia is a symptom of another mental health problem the treatment length may vary. CBT for insomnia is more effective for improving sleep than counseling focused on stress management and wellness.
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Can Help
- Evaluating your sleep needs and rhythms
- Reversing negative associations between the bedroom and sleep
- Learning methods to control and manage worry
- Learning relaxation techniques
- Helping create an environment conducive to sleep
More information about the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for insomnia can be found in this journal article: Click here.