Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a safe and effective nonpharmacologic way to treat insomnia. It can be used instead of sleeping pills or in addition to pharmacologic treatment. Its goal is to change sleep habits, scheduling factors and misconceptions about sleep and insomnia that contribute to the problem. CBT-I generally involves regular visits with your sleep specialist, who will give you sleep assessments. You will also fill out a sleep diary and work with the sleep specialist to try to change the way you sleep.
Sleep habits you may want to change or eliminate through CBT-I include taking naps during the day after a bad night's sleep, sleeping late on weekends and staying in bed for a long time. These types of habits perpetuate insomnia.
How do you know whether CBT-I is right for you? There's really no way to know for sure. If you've suffered from insomnia for a long time, tried medications without success and/or know of no medical or psychiatric cause of your insomnia, you may want to give CBT-I a try.
For more information about CBT-I, visit the National Sleep Foundation.