Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia

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 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!