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HOW TREATING YOUR CHRONIC INSOMNIA WITH COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY WORKS

Updated: Feb 7

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can affect how well you function daily, affecting clear thinking, concentration, and processing memories. This illness is quite common, with up to 35% of adults dealing with brief symptoms, up to 20% having short-term insomnia, and up to 10% suffering from chronic sleep issues associated with this condition.

Chronic insomnia impacts your risks of many conditions, such as hypertension and depression, and can be a hazard to your quality of life. There are many approaches to treating it, but cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective method that identifies and modifies how we sleep. To further explore how this works, let’s examine what causes insomnia, and what CBT does to help.

Residents of Glendale, Arizona struggling to get quality rest due to insomnia or other sleep disorders can find help with Dr. Sarah Patel and the skilled medical team at the Sonoran Sleep Center.


CAUSES OF CHRONIC INSOMNIA

Insomnia keeps millions of adults from getting sufficient sleep by either waking you up in the middle of the night, or waking you up earlier than desired, and chronic insomnia is defined as dealing with this for at least three days a week for three months or more.

Stress is a common cause of insomnia, which can stem from work-related issues, personal woes, or any number of other things that can create anxiety and uncertainty. Other causes of this disorder include anxiety disorders, poor sleeping habits, unhealthy lifestyle, chronic pain, chronic diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, and hormone fluctuations.

Medications can affect how you sleep, and neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can take their toll on your ability to rest as well. Even other sleep problems like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome can cause insomnia.


HOW COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY CAN HELP

Lack of sleep affects your circadian rhythm, which is the pattern in which you sleep in a given 24-hour day cycle, and while everyone can function with different amounts of rest, you need at least 7 hours of uninterrupted rest a night regularly.

CBT is designed to determine and change aberrant behaviors or thought patterns, and for insomnia it focuses on thoughts, behaviors and emotions that contribute to your problems with getting proper rest.

This structured therapeutic program identifies these issues and replaces them with better habits to increase the amount of good, quality sleep you get on a nightly basis. Techniques employed with CBT include:

  • Stimulus control therapy: this helps to remove conditioning your mind uses to resist sleep

  • Sleep restriction: this reduces the amount of time you spend in bed, to increase fatigue the next night

  • Sleep hygiene: this method works to change lifestyle habits that influence sleep to increase how much rest you get

  • Sleep environment improvement: this is a way to control important aspects of the room you sleep in to better induce sleep

  • Relaxation training: this employs meditation, muscles relaxation, and imagery to calm your body

  • Paradoxical intention: this is a technique of remaining passively awake, which is used to avoid efforts of falling asleep

  • Biofeedback: this method observes biological functions such as heart rate and muscle tension so they can be adjusted to improve sleep

CBT can use multiple techniques in different combinations to maximize results. This therapy is great for long-term insomnia, and helps to avoid dependence on short-term sleep medications by addressing the underlying reasons for sleeping problems.

If chronic insomnia is creating problems for you, we can help get quality, long-term results. Make an appointment at Sonoran Sleep Center today to get better sleep.


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