Sleep Therapy (CBT-I)

About Sleep Disorders...

From impaired thinking and emotional regulation to increased aches and even food cravings, disrupted sleep affects daily living. If you’re dreading nighttime, it’s time to seek a solution. Disturbances in sleep quality can significantly impact health. Disorders range from insomnia to sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Disrupted sleep can result from PTSD, anxiety, brain injury, chronic pain, and depression.

Symptoms of Sleep Disorders Include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Poor emotional control
  • Physical pain, headaches
  • And more…

What Are Some of the Sleep Solutions at Renew?

Lifestyle Change

Sleep disorders, often complex in nature, are intricately linked to various lifestyle factors including fitness, nutrition, rest, social interactions, and stress management. Clinical research indicates that lifestyle factors such as a balanced diet, regular physical activity, sleep routines, an appropriate rest-activity balance, and positive social interactions play important roles regulating the sleep-wake cycle and behaviours.  Therapy can support you by helping you to set priorities, identify and stick with clear boundaries, establish healthy routines, and create meaningful and achievable goals. With a more regulated lifestyle, many people are able to effectively address sleep disorders, fostering a healthier, more balanced life.

Neurofeedback Therapy for Sleep

At Renew, we offer  neurofeedback therapy options designed to enhance sleep quality. A notable study in the journal NeuroRegulation has spotlighted the effectiveness of infra-slow fluctuation neurofeedback (ISF-NF) in treating insomnia. ISF-NF zeroes in on ultra-slow brainwave activity, particularly those below 0.1 Hz, which plays a crucial role in sleep regulation. In this study, participants undergoing ISF-NF therapy displayed marked improvements in sleep quality and related measures, outperforming the control group. SMR training, another form of neurofeedback therapy, has also demonstrated its capacity to reduce nighttime awakenings and minimize the time taken to fall asleep in research studies.

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

CBT-I is a short and structured therapy approach to helping manage symptoms of insomnia.  In sessions, you will explore the connections between what you do, how you think and how you sleep.

CBT-I uses cognitive (the impact of what and how you think) and behavioural (the impact of what you do and how you act) interventions in combination with the provision of education regarding the connections between thoughts, behaviours, feelings and sleep.

Practice is required, but often only 6 – 8 sessions are required.

Depending on your needs, common techniques may include:

  • Identifying and altering thoughts that contribute to insomnia (cognitive restructuring)
  • Relaxation technique training
  • Managing or changing the sleep environment (stimulus control)
  • Altering the sleep schedule (sleep restriction/compression)
  • Psychoeducation (learning about sleep, the impact of lifestyle, and sleep hygiene strategies)
  • Homework (sleep diary, tracking thoughts, etc.)

How does CBT-I help with insomnia?

Stimulus Control Therapy

This technique of CBT for insomnia focuses on re-establishing a strong association between the bedroom and sleep. It involves techniques such as setting a consistent sleep schedule, limiting stimulating activities in your bedroom, and creating a relaxing pre-sleep routine.

Sleep Restriction Therapy

This approach involves temporarily reducing the time spent in bed to increase sleep efficiency. It helps regulate sleep patterns and consolidate sleep by gradually extending sleep time as sleep efficiency improves, leading to improved overall sleep quality.

Cognitive Therapy

This aims to identify and change unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that contribute to sleep difficulties. By challenging negative sleep-related thoughts and promoting positive thinking patterns, individuals can develop healthier sleep attitudes and improve their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

At our clinics in Ottawa, North Bay and Pembroke, we offer CBT sleep therapy programs tailored to your specific needs, helping you overcome insomnia and achieve restful, rejuvenating sleep.

What Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Involve?

During CBT for insomnia in Ottawa, North Bay and Pembroke, our sleep therapists guide you through a structured process to improve your sleep. The process might include:

  • Changing Your Routine: Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding naps, and using your bed only for sleeping.
  • Setting Sleep Limits: Getting out of bed if you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes and gradually increasing your time in bed as sleep improves.
  • Modifying Lifestyle Habits: Making changes to habits that affect sleep, such as reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and incorporating regular physical activity.
  • Improving Your Sleep Environment: Creating a comfortable sleep area that is quiet, dark, and cool, without distractions like TVs or visible clocks.
  • Learning Relaxation Techniques: Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, imagery, and muscle relaxation to calm the mind and body.
  • Remaining Passively Awake: Letting go of worries about falling asleep, allowing relaxation to take over and facilitate more natural sleep.
  • Using Biofeedback or Neurofeedback: Utilizing devices to measure physiological signs like heart rate and muscle tension and learning techniques to manage them effectively.

How can it help me?

CBT-I has a strong evidence base.  Up to 70 – 80% of people with insomnia see positive change.  This includes less wakefulness, less time to fall asleep, and more time asleep!  In fact, The American College of Physicians recommends that all adult patients receive CBT-I for initial treatment for insomnia.  Check out the article here.

CBT-I is also effective in people at higher risk of experiencing insomnia, such as people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or post cancer.

When is CBT-I not appropriate?

In some cases, such as with sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, CBT-I is not the most effective choice because medical intervention is required to resolve the primary issue.  Once the appropriate medical intervention has been provided, CBT-I may be a useful tool to reset your sleep if you continue to experience difficulty. 

How is it offered?

CBT-I can be offered online or in person.  Several members of the Renew Neurotherapy team are trained in administering CBT-I.  Contact us to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Insomnia is considered one of the most effective therapies for sleep problems. It addresses the underlying causes and helps develop healthy sleep habits.

CBT can considerably enhance the quality of sleep, shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and minimize the frequency of overnight waking. It focuses on dealing with the underlying causes of insomnia and provides methods for encouraging healthier sleeping patterns, controlling racing thoughts, and reducing worry, all of which can be disruptive to sleep.

The duration of CBT for sleep varies depending on individual circumstances, but positive results can often be seen within a few weeks. Full treatment typically lasts around four to eight session, with regular sessions and implementation of learned techniques.