Click Here for information about our COVID-19 office policies.

  • banner image

    What is CBT-I?

    by Molly Martin, LISW

    All day long you feel exhausted and can’t wait to crawl into bed at night…but when you do? You toss and turn as you stare at the clock while telling yourself “I can still get four hours and thirty-seven minutes if I fall asleep right now”. 

    Sound familiar? Nearly everyone has experienced insomnia from time to time, but for about 10% of adults, chronic insomnia interferes with their ability to experience restful, restorative sleep for months or even years. Many people take steps to implement healthy sleep hygiene, however, for those with chronic insomnia, sleep hygiene is rarely sufficient in positively impacting sleep. 

    So what can you do? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, or CBT-I.

    CBT-I is an evidence-based treatment for insomnia, and it is the front-line treatment recommended by the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Yes, that’s right – use of CBT-I is the first recommendation and most effective treatment option for the majority of people with insomnia, even before medication management! And with several MWR providers trained in the model, restful nights of sleep are just a few sessions away.

    Think CBT-I could be right for you? Here’s what to expect:

    CBT-I is typically completed over a total of 4-8 biweekly sessions. CBT-I participants will use daily sleep logs to track sleep patterns, and then will work with their therapist to incorporate behavioral changes such as modifying their bedtime and rise time, incorporating daily activities, practicing relaxation, and re-associating bed with sleep. Simultaneously, thought patterns that contribute to bedtime anxiety or avoidance will be addressed.

    With adherence to the CBT-I recommendations, achieving restorative sleep can occur in as little as two weeks, and up to 80% of CBT-I participants report improvement including less time to fall asleep, more time spent asleep at night, fewer wake ups, and overall more restful sleep. 

    CBT-I works as a stand-alone treatment for individuals experiencing insomnia, but is also effective for those experiencing insomnia associated with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and chronic pain. In fact, studies have shown that improved sleep results in reduced relapse for those with co-occuring mental health conditions.

    There are some conditions that are not appropriate for CBT-I treatment including untreated obstructive sleep apnea, seizure disorders, and active substance abuse disorders. However, if you have one of these conditions, therapy may still be beneficial to help you adjust to use of a CPAP or other medically recommended treatment, incorporate relaxation and cognitive strategies to support restful sleep, and/or address factors contributing to substance use. 

    If you are ready to reclaim your nights (and your days!), give us a call at 319.250.1267 to schedule with one of our CBT-I trained therapists today!