Individuals with insomnia suffer from difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep (frequent or prolonged awakenings) and/or difficulty waking up at a desired time. Non-medication treatments for insomnia are available and have the potential to work as well as insomnia medications. Non-medication treatments for insomnia focus on changing thoughts and behaviors that interfere with good quality sleep. This approach is known as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and it consists of several components including relaxation therapy, good sleep hygiene, stimulus control, cognitive therapy or changing the way you think about your sleep, and sleep restriction therapy. Kaiser offers an online program as well as a six week course on CBT-I. If you are interested in participating in one of these programs, please ask your doctor.
The treatment components for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia include:
- Education on normal sleep and the many factors that impact its quality and quantity.
- Developing healthy and effective sleep behaviors.
- Learning skills for calming the mind and for managing stress.
- Individualized sleep-wake scheduling program, including sleep consolidation and stimulus control.
- Eliminating sleep-incompatible behaviors
- The use of properly timed light exposure to reset the sleep-wake body clock, when indicated.
- Learning coping strategies for dealing with sleep loss and related daytime problems.
Finally, insomnia can be related to many underlying medical and psychiatric disorders. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor so that contributing illnesses can be diagnosed and treated.
- Dream – a program where you can learn techniques to adjust your lifestyle and relax both mind and body so that you can sleep better, without medication
- Sleep Well and Be Well Handout – Tips on how to improve your sleep
- Sleep Restriction Therapy – Instructions on how to practice sleep restriction therapy, a behavioral therapy method for improving insomnia
- Insomnia Class through Health Education – Improving Sleep Series class is a 5 session course lasting 2 hours. Through the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy this series is designed to improve both the quantity and quality of your sleep. Learn how sleeping behaviors and thinking patterns affect your sleep and how how to change both. Class is appropriate for patients experiencing sleep disturbance associated with mild depression and anxiety. The series is now FREE to all Kaiser members!