Does CBT help you sleep?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a method that can be used to help people suffering with insomnia. Some people prefer a non-medicated approach to solving their sleeping (or lack of) issues.

CBT for insomnia is referred to as CBT-I.

CBT-I is an approved method for treating insomnia without the use of medication. Aiming to alter the patients sleeping pattern as well as changing the misconceptions about sleep and insomnia that could otherwise continue indefinitely.

What is insomnia?

The National Sleep Foundation confirm that Insomnia is difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.

What causes Insomnia?

Insomnia can be caused by a number of things some of which include:

  • Psychiatric conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Medical conditions, such as nasal/sinus allergies, reflux, asthma etc.
  • Unhealthy sleep habits
  • Specific substances, and/or certain biological factors

What are some of the CBT-I techniques used to help combat insomnia?

Depending on the results of your sleep assessments and evaluation of your sleep diary your therapist may recommend some of the following CBT-I techniques to help:

  • Sleep restriction therapy. This is one of the primary components of CBT-I and is where individuals are asked to cut out afternoon naps and early bedtimes.
  • Stimulus Control Instructions. These are instructions your therapist will enforce following an assessment of your sleeping habits which may be prohibiting sleep.
  • Sleep Hygiene Education. This is a customised list of practices and habits which are necessary in order to sleep.

What happens if your insomnia returns?

Many things can trigger insomnia, therefore it is important that those treated with CBT-I understand the steps they have been taught to put into place should a flare up arise. The following are the main methods of relapse prevention against a new onset episode of chronic insomnia.

  • Don’t compensate for sleep loss
  • Start stimulus control procedures immediately
  • Re-engage sleep restriction should the insomnia persist beyond a few days.

Following the state-of-the science meeting by the National Institute of Health CBT-I has been confirmed as a safe and effective means of managing chronic insomnia and its effects.

Information sourced from

If you have a Health Cash Plan and would like to see whether CBT is available under your policy and if so what your policy will pay towards your CBT sessions, then please contact us on 01245 929 129 or email where we will be happy to help you.