What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)?
CBT-I is a type of therapy that can help improve your sleep duration and quality. Many experts recommend that people with insomnia use CBT-I before trying other treatments like medication. It addresses our thoughts and behaviors by focusing on how we think, our habits and our emotions are all linked and influence one another.
What does CBT-I involve?
There are a few different components to a CBT-I program. These can include:
- Cognitive therapy — Treatment that helps you develop more healthy thinking patterns surrounding sleep
- Sleep education — Using sleeping science to help you develop habits that lead to a better night’s sleep
- Sleep restriction therapy — Deciding on a set amount of time to stay in bed, which over time means spending less time trying to sleep
- Stimulus control — Breaking the association between negative feelings and trying to sleep.
- Relaxation therapy — Techniques such as meditation that can help you fall asleep more easily
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Colleen Ehrnstrom is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty practice in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Areas of expertise include insomnia and other sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Dr. Ehrnstrom is not a medical provider and is not providing any recommendations regarding medications. Rather, she is sharing and reviewing the research as it relates to education when learning how best to treat insomnia.