It’s normal to have problems sleeping from time to time, but if the problems continue and aren’t resolved quickly, it can turn into a condition called insomnia. If you’re someone who has insomnia, falling asleep or staying asleep is difficult and makes you irritable and exhausted.
Our expert team at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates, LLC uses a highly effective and drug-free method to treat insomnia called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Here, our psychotherapists share how CBT works and how they use it to help you get restorative sleep, starting with a closer look at insomnia and some of the problems associated with it.
Symptoms and complications of insomnia
High-quality sleep is important for energy, memory, concentration, daily performance, and mood. If you have insomnia, some of the main symptoms include:
- Inability to pay attention
- Daytime sleepiness
- Not feeling rested
- Increased clumsiness and accidents
- Inability to fall asleep
- Night waking
- Waking up too early
Many detrimental problems co-occur with insomnia, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Our team performs a comprehensive evaluation to discern how your insomnia is impacting your overall health. Then, we develop a personalized approach to your therapy so you can get back to getting a good night’s sleep.
What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?
CBT is a method of psychotherapy that helps to identify faulty thoughts and negative behaviors and to change them. Our highly skilled team guides you through the process of naming the problem thoughts and replacing them with more productive thinking. For instance, CBT helps you take control of worry so it won’t keep you up or wake you during the night.
In addition to helping you overcome insomnia, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help with phobias, eating disorders, stress, manic depression, social disorders, and many other psychiatric and emotional issues.
How does CBT help with insomnia?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to correct your misconceptions about sleep and insomnia and change your sleep habits. Depending on the severity of your insomnia and the problems it’s causing in your daily life and interactions with others, our therapists may recommend certain techniques, such as:
- Sleep restriction: strict limitations on the time you spend in bed
- Sleep hygiene: an overhaul of the things that affect your sleep — for example, caffeine reduction and smoking cessation
- Relaxation: meditation, mindfulness, grounding, and deep breathing
- Biofeedback: adjusting your heart rate and muscle tension
- Sleep environment enhancements: blackout curtains, circulating fan, removal of electronics, soft music or white noise
At Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates, CBT is the first and preferred line of defense against insomnia. Multiple studies and numerous trials show that it works better than sleep aids and medications for long-term insomnia.
For a comprehensive sleep review and to determine if CBT is right for you, call the clinic in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts or request an appointment online.