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You Should Try Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Treat Your Insomnia

0 2 years ago

An estimated 30 to 40% of Americans experience insomnia symptoms each year—and that was before everything went sideways. Today, those numbers are likely to be much worse, and it can be a real struggle to deal with, as it impacts just about every aspect of your life. But cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is considered the gold standard in treating insomnia, and is recommended as the first method to try—that’s because studies show that CBT-I is just as effective as medication for treating insomnia.

“It’s just as effective, but it’s more durable,” said Dr. Bhanu Kolla a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic who specializes in treating sleep disorders. “Once you’ve put in the work, made the effort, made the changes, the benefits accrue and persist.”

CBT-I encompasses a wide range of techniques

Insomnia is a broad condition, one that encompasses a wide range of sleep issues. Some people have trouble falling asleep, others have trouble staying asleep, while the underlying reasons for this can vary. “You have to tailor it to what your problem is,” said Dr. Temitayo Oyegbile-Chidi, a neurologist at UC Davis who specializes in sleep disorders. “For example, if you are having anxiety-related insomnia, you are going to focus on how to reduce your racing thoughts.”

With CBT-I, the focus is on getting a person to change some of their habits and thoughts surrounding sleep. “CBT-I is all about changing your mindset about insomnia or about sleep,” Oyegbile-Chidi said. This includes addressing all of those nights spent tossing and turning in bed, wondering why you can’t fall asleep, which is a component of insomnia that can be just as frustrating as the actual feeling of sleep deprivation.


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