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Many factors of daily life can interfere with our ability to sleep naturally and restoratively. When these are temporary, such as stressful events, most people note improvement once the stressor has resolved. For a great many others, however, more chronic sleep problems are experienced, independent of their life situations. At that point, the inability to sleep well itself becomes the stressor.


Insomnia disorder affects approximately 30% of the general population, and is even more common among the elderly, and those suffering from other psychiatric conditions, such as depression or anxiety. People with insomnia disorder have trouble falling asleep, wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to fall back asleep, or wake up earlier than they want to in the morning. Individuals with insomnia disorder also have trouble getting refreshing, restorative sleep. As a result, problems with daytime functioning may result, including:

  • Fatigue or low energy

  • Concentration difficulties

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty at work, school, and/or in personal relationships


If you have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting refreshing sleep, and if this occurs at least 3 days per week and has persisted for more than 3 months, you may be a candidate for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).

What Is CBT-I?:

CBT-I is a structured, individualized, 6 to 8 session treatment program that works by examining and changing the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that are disrupting your sleep and causing your insomnia. CBT-I addresses sleep habits, sleep scheduling, and individual biological and lifestyle factors, as well as the many misconceptions about sleep and insomnia that commonly cause and/or perpetuate insomnia. Solid clinical research indicates that CBT-I is the most effective first-line treatment for adults with chronic insomnia. The research also demonstrates that CBT-I:

  • Improves sleep in 75-80% of insomnia patients

  • Reduces or eliminates sleeping pill use in 90% of patients

  • Exceeds the effectiveness of sleeping pills

  • Maintains sleep improvements long-term

  • Causes NO side effects

  • Doubles the success rate of depression treatment compared to antidepressant medication alone

  • Reduces the severity of pain, fibromyalgia, substance abuse, and PTSD in insomnia patients who also have these co-morbid health problems.

  • Addresses the underlying causes of insomnia rather than just relieving symptoms


It is NOT required that you discontinue your current use of sleep medication to participate in, and receive the full benefit of CBT-I. If, however, you do wish to discontinue your use of sleep medication, CBT-I will significantly increase your success in doing so. It will also help you cope more effectively with the transition.

More About Sleeping Pills:

Sleep medications, technically known as sedatives and hypnotics, can certainly be effective as a short-term treatment for insomnia, and they may provide some immediate relief during a period of high stress or grief. In fact, a recent comprehensive study found that popular drugs such as Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, and Rozerem improved sleep onset by an average of about 10 minutes. However, these generally mild short-term improvements come at the cost of side effects and risk factors, particularly in those 60 and over. These can include:

  • Impaired memory and learning

  • Daytime sedation

  • Dependency

  • Suppression of REM sleep

  • Depression

  • Suicidality

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Dementia

  • Increased risk of overdose


For these reasons, the American College of Physicians’ 2016 Practice Guidelines concluded that “all adult patients should receive CBT-I as the first step in treating chronic insomnia.”

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