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What Are the Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia?

The practice of journaling may be incorporated into cognitive behavioral therapy.
A person fearing they will toss and turn at night often becomes a self-fulfilling belief.
Watching TV late at night can contribute to insomnia.
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  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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The benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia include reduced depression and anxiety as well as new sleep-related habits that minimize or eliminate the condition. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques often improve certain mental health conditions, creating the peace of mind that might be necessary for sleeping soundly. A person might have specific negative thoughts and struggles related to falling asleep or staying asleep and might need expert guidance to overcome these thought patterns. Counseling techniques often help a person establish healthier behaviors and routines related to sleep. Effective cognitive behavioral therapy treatments generally lead to a decreased need for sleep medications.

When dealing with depression or anxiety, persistent feelings of worry or sadness might interfere with falling asleep. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia works to reduce the negative thoughts that cause excessive worry or persistent anxiety. A person might have a hard time falling asleep because of worries about finances, for example. Counseling sessions in this case might focus on the cause of the feelings and help transform troublesome thought patterns into more productive ones. As feelings of depression or anxiety lessen, the confidence to remedy the financial situation might be enhanced, resulting in more relaxation and an easier time falling asleep.

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For some people, insomnia is caused by negative feelings and thoughts about their sleep patterns. Going to bed at night while fearing inevitable hours of tossing and turning sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling belief. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia uncovers these beliefs and often draws on a variety of techniques to overcome the problem, including imagery, hypnosis, meditation and visualization. Clients might be taught to practice these techniques at home or use audio and/or visual tools before bedtime, such as a hypnosis sound recording or visual images of serene environments.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia also might focus on the behavioral causes of the problem. Some instances of insomnia are caused by excessive napping, noisy sleep environments or consuming stimulants too close to bedtime. Therapy sessions examine these factors and help clients establish more functional behavioral patterns. New habits to establish might include wearing an eye cover to block out light, limiting caffeine for several hours before bedtime and eliminating exposure to anxiety-provoking television shows before sleep.

One of the benefits that is associated with counseling for insomnia is the reduced need for sleep medications. As anxieties decrease and healthier sleep patterns are established, insomnia becomes less of a problem. Reducing and/or eliminating sleep medication usually is a gradual process that comes with a steady commitment to attending counseling sessions and making cognitive and behavioral changes.

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