How to treat insomnia?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) is considered the first-line treatment for anyone suffering from chronic insomnia.
Unlike sleeping pills whose effectiveness diminishes over time, this therapy helps the individual to overcome the underlying causes of sleep difficulties, ensuring that its beneficial effects are maintained over the long term. To do this, three therapeutic sides are generally used:
1) As understanding is essential to change, the therapist will provide the patient with the theoretical keys to better understand his sleep and his disorder. This educational aspect is particularly important in the treatment because it reduces the patient’s anxiety and defuses many myths contributing to sleep difficulties (“you have to sleep 8 hours a night”, “the hours before midnight are more important »,…).
2) The behavioral component of the treatment allows the patient, with the help of the therapist, to “unlearn” the maladaptive behaviors that he puts in place to fight against his insomnia (increase the time spent in bed, stay in bed at all costs , practice other activities in the bedroom than sleep and sexual activities, etc. by adapting their sleep schedules or bad habits.
3) The cognitive aspect of the therapy leads the person to question the way in which his thoughts (“I absolutely have to get 8 hours of sleep, otherwise I could not be effective tomorrow”) contribute to feeding his anxiety and maintaining his sleeping difficulties, then replacing them with more realistic alternatives (“maybe I don’t need 8 hours of sleep to
be fit the next day”).
In conclusion, it is normal to have a bad night from time to time. On the other hand, when these difficulties become chronic, specialized care is often necessary. CBT-i proposes to attack the vicious circle of insomnia and to act on the bad sleep habits and dysfunctional thoughts that maintain it. Ultimately, this will allow you to recover better quality sleep and reduce the physiological and psychological tension that makes sleep difficult.
For more advice, do not hesitate to contact our specialist Clément Letesson.
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1. The sleep of the Belgians, an eye-opening study! (NewPharma survey,
2. Spielman AJ, Caruso LS, Glovinsky PB (1987) A behavioral perspective on insomnia treatment. Psychiatrist Clin North Am. 10(4):541-53.