- Are you dissatisfied with the quantity or quality of your sleep?
- Do you have difficulty falling asleep?
- Do you have difficulty staying asleep?
- Do you wake up too early in the morning, unable to get back to sleep?
- Do you worry about being so short on sleep that your work, schooling, relationships or wellbeing will suffer as a result?
- Have you tried numerous different things to improve your sleep without success?
If any of these points describe you, you might benefit from an evidence-based treatment for Insomnia. Cutting-edge research shows that Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is the most effective treatment for Insomnia in the long-term. It is recommended as the first-line, gold standard treatment for anyone with Insomnia. Please see “What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia?” below. CRS Clinical Psychology Services specialise in CBT-I, and you can book an appointment here.
There is no single cause for Insomnia. Rather, there are a number of things that predispose people, or “set the stage” for, Insomnia. These include:
- Genetics. There is evidence of a genetic link in Insomnia Disorder which makes people more likely to experience it. Luckily, Insomnia is treatable without changing your genes!
- Being a “worrier” or an “over-thinker”. The tendency to mull things over in bed is associated with wakefulness.
- The tendency to be hypervigilant or “on the lookout” for things that threaten our sleep or happiness.
There are also a range of things that might trigger someone’s Insomnia:
- Medical illness or injury.
- Stressful life experiences.
- Changes in our social situation resulting in a shift in our sleep schedule (e.g. waking up to care for an infant, staying alert at night in case a family member needs help).
Finally, there are many things which maintain Insomnia, keeping people stuck in a cycle of poor sleep:
- Negative thoughts, such as “I’ll never get to sleep” or “tomorrow is going to be awful” which activate our brain and body and wake us up.
- Compensatory strategies designed to improve sleep that inadvertently make it worse, such as taking naps during the day, or using alcohol or medications to fall sleep.
- Keeping an irregular sleep pattern.
- Overusing caffeine to manage poor sleep during the day.
- Persistent pain.
This the first-line, gold standard treatment for Insomnia. CBT-I involves using concrete, evidence-based strategies to interrupt the cycle of Insomnia. It involves making behavioural changes to improve our sleep routine and habits, and using cognitive strategies to calm a busy mind. CBT-I involves attending approximately 5 – 10 Clinical Psychology sessions the following:
- Education on the science of sleep
- Implementing a healthy sleep routine
- Identifying unhelpful coping strategies which may work in the short-term, but may be counter-productive in the long-term
- Learning new coping strategies which research shows are beneficial for long-term improvement in sleep
- Addressing repetitive negative thinking which can promote wakefulness
- Learning relaxation techniques
- Monitoring sleep throughout treatment to measure change