Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Sapna Doshi, Ph.D. - 5th May 2023

Insomnia doesn't have to mean that you're up for the entire night. What it is defined as is difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or not waking up feeling well-rested. Lack of sleep can plague individuals making their mental health and physical health worsen. Not getting enough sleep can affect so many things from your mood (irritability, anxiety, depression), ability to think clearly and concentrate, and your appetite in that you can often feel much more intense hunger. You also might lack energy and feel fatigued such that it's hard to motivate to exercise. It can all be quite the vicious cycle. 

But have no fear! Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia is here! 

CBT-i is short for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. CBT-i is an amazing treatment protocol. Working with a professional psychologist with expertise in sleep medicine can make all the difference. We've had clients get off sleep medications after being on them for years by following this protocol. 

The protocol involves syncing your circadian rhythm so that you're getting up at the same time every day and getting sleepy around the same time every night. The protocol also involves making sure you're not doing anything in bed other than sleeping. Are you worrying, thinking, reading, or watching TV in bed? We're going to help you get out of those bad habits because when the mind associates the bed with these activities, it makes it much harder to get to sleep. We want to train the mind to help us sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow! 

In CBT for insomnia treatment, our psychologists will also use something called sleep restriction therapy. When people struggling with insomnia, they tend to try to get "extra" sleep by getting into bed early and they end up spending too much time in bed awake rather than only sleeping in bed the amount of time their body is capable of producing sleep. It's a bit of a myth that you need 8 hours of sleep a night. Everyone has different sleep needs. Some people need 7 hours. Some people need 9 hours. We're going to help you figure out how much sleep your body is producing and then we'll come up with a sleep schedule for you to adhere to every day for a few weeks. This tends to help the circadian rhythm sync up nicely and helps you get that wonderful DEEP, restorative sleep that helps you wake up feeling quite refreshed! 

Lastly, we're going to help you stop napping in the middle of the day. If it's absolutely necessary, we'll talk to you about taking little cat naps for very short periods of time. But ideally we help you not nap at all because this can cause great difficult in falling asleep at night. 

CBT for Insomnia is pretty straight forward and we can often see people having wonderful results in a matter of a few sessions. Sometimes that's not the case and there might be more complex issues at play (trauma, severe anxiety) that we might need to treat as well. There also could be other medical factors occurring such as sleep apnea which can often make people feel quite tired in the morning. In that case, we'll send you to one of our trusted sleep medicine doctors in the area for an evaluation. 

At Mind Body Health, we have several health psychologists on our team who have been trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. We're confident we can help you and we'll work closely with your doctors to ensure you're in good health. 

Contact us today! We offer free phone consultations to ensure we're the right fit. We have locations in Arlington, VA, Washington, DC, and we offer virtual telehealth sessions to residents in 30+ states. 

Leave a Comment