In the digital age that we live in, lack of sleep is more prevalent than ever. Add to that things like shift work or jet lag and it’s a recipe for a sleep disorder.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep.
So what kinds of treatment work? Well, we all know there are pharmaceutical options, but those can come with side effects of their own. At Innovative Sleep Centers, we try non-pharmacological treatments first because we feel the long-term solution shouldn’t include a pill.
CBT-I stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia and is quickly becoming the most safe, effective, non-pharma treatment for long-term insomnia. CBT-I is a structured program that identifies and replaces thoughts and behaviors that cause and worsen sleep issues with habits that promote sound sleep.
A therapist that specializes in CBT-I may have you start by keeping a specific sleep diary for a few weeks to identify patterns and issues. Then your therapist can work with you to change your fears or overwhelming thoughts around sleep as well as changing your habits around bedtime and eliminate or change any stimuli that might also contribute to your poor sleep. You may also use a biofeedback device to help record your heartrate or muscle tension and then show you how to adjust them.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia may be a good treatment choice if you have long-term sleep issues, you're worried about becoming dependent on medications, or if medications aren't effective or cause side effects.
Unlike pills, CBT-I addresses the underlying causes of insomnia rather than just relieving symptoms. But it takes time — and effort — to make it work.
In addition to your lifestyle contributing to your sleepless nights, insomnia can be a symptom of another underlying sleep disorder. Sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can be the cause of insomnia. An overnight sleep study is an important first step to rule out other sleep disorders and put you on the right treatment path. Talk to your doctor or call us today for a consultation with a sleep specialist. Good sleep is a reachable dream!