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Insomnia: Do You Have to Choose Between Therapy and Sleeping Pills?

Posted On February 16, 2014
February 16, 2014

Thousands of people worldwide battle insomnia on a daily basis. It is ever so frustrating to not be able to fall asleep in a timely fashion as well as stay asleep. Lack of quality sleep can affect you at work, your relationships, and health. What are your options? Do you have to choose between therapy and sleeping pills?

While a quick fix of the problem, sleeping pills can help you get back on track with quality sleep. But they are only a band aid that covers the underlying problem. If you want to solve and cure your insomnia, try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Effectively used to help people with phobias, depression and eating disorders, this option works to treat insomnia by modifying behavior and thought, which are the culprits of depriving the sufferer of quality sleep. According to the National Institute of Health, CBT can be considered a safe and effective treatment option in managing chronic insomnia and its effects. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of people who undergo CBT benefit from this treatment for their insomnia, even months after therapy sessions have ended.

What Does CBT Involve?

Working to create proper sleeping habits, CBT is a treatment option without side effects. Therapy sessions with a psychologist or sleep specialist are about 30 minutes to an hour in length and occur over the course of 6 to 8 weeks. Using sleep assessments and keeping a sleep diary for treatment planning, CBT sessions assist insomnia sufferers change the way they sleep.

Patients undergoing CBT learn how to address and counteract the troubling thoughts that prevent them from falling and staying asleep. Basically, bad habits and thoughts are replaced with the positive and thus overcome the issues that prevent quality sleep. Therefore, CBT assists in reducing an insomniac’s worry, fear and anxiety.

CBT is a multi-faceted approach with a number of different techniques that are part of the overall program. They are as follows:

Stimulus Control

Instructions are given to reduce the number of stimuli in the bedroom that might be preventing the individual from falling asleep. Sufferers are coached to make a strong association with the bedroom as a location that is relaxing and calming rather than stimulating. Thus, TVs and computers are removed as negative stimuli.

Sleep Restriction

After the results from a sleep assessment and keeping a sleep journal are reviewed, the best sleep schedule for the insomniac is determined, which actually might limit the number of hours spent in bed. Although it might sound counterintuitive, sleep restriction actually increases sleep efficiency.

Relaxation Therapy

Uses guided imagery, visualization, meditation, yoga and deep breathing to help the insomnia learn how to relax.

Biofeedback

Addresses biological factors that might be preventing sleep from occurring naturally. Thus individuals undergoing CBT learn how to control physiological factors that had made them resistant to sleep.

 

Sleep Hygiene

Patients learn how to modify their bedroom, create habits prior to going to sleep so that they are not staring at the ceiling waiting for sleep to come to them.

CBT does work to achieve a cure for insomnia as treatment doesn’t just lessen the symptoms. But of course, just like exercising and losing weight, CBT takes time and effort. Change doesn’t happen overnight.

If you believe that you might have sleep apnea and would like to discover your best treatment option, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 or schedule a free consultation.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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