Episode 2. Got Sleep? provides the listener an overview of the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). CBT-I works better than prescription Benzodiazepines. These Benzodiazepines or “benzos”. Benzos include drugs like Xanax or Valium. Benzos may work in the short term, but they are notoriously addictive. Additionally, CBT-I has also been shown to be more effective than other popular medications. Some popular non-benzo sleep prescriptions include Ambien and Trazodone. Learning and enacting the CBT-I methodologies also lasts longer than medications.
According to the Sleep Foundation, “When these techniques are used together as multicomponent CBT-I, as many as 70% to 80% of patients with primary insomnia experience improvements. Benefits include less time to fall asleep, more time spent asleep, and waking up less during sleep9. Results are often maintained over time.“
Key Components Discussed:
- CBT-I vs. Medication
- “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 some cases, a combination of sleep medication and CBT-I may be the best approach.” – Mayo Clinic
- How much sleep do we need?
- “How much sleep you need changes as you age.” – CDC
- Multi-Component elements of CBT-I
- Key CBT-I Elements
- Stimulus Control
- Sleep Restriction & Compression
- Relaxation Training
Health benefits of sleep (from health.gov)
- Get sick less often
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
- Reduce stress and improve your mood
- Think more clearly and do better in school and at work
- Get along better with people
- Make good decisions and avoid injuries — for example, drowsy drivers cause thousands of car accidents every year
How do I apply the CBT-I principles?
First, it is always good to talk to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) if you haven’t been sleeping well. This will help rule out medical causes of insomnia.
It’s time to put CBT-I into action.
CBT-I Quick Tips
- Stop thinking of sleep as the enemy
- Reduce the time you’re in the bed
- In fact, the bed should only be used for sleep and sex
- Cut down on TV and cell phone use in the evenings (1-2 hrs. before bed)
- Reduce the time in bed by going to bed later
- Only go to sleep when tired
- Get out of bed if not asleep in 15-30 minutes
- Do relaxation training ahead of time
- Breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or other relaxation techniques
Have a plan, stay informed and get involved,
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