What is insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as a subjective dissatisfaction with either the quantity or quality of your sleep. It can manifest in different ways from difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up earlier than you intended and not being able to get back to sleep, or consistently experiencing nonrestorative sleep.
Insomnia causes people to experience distress and/or impairs their ability to function well at work, school, or in relationships. It can also cause people to experience other physical and mental health symptoms, such as low mood, irritability, anxiety, worry, and different physical aches and pains.
Insomnia is classified as either acute or chronic. Acute insomnia lasts anywhere from a few days to weeks and is usually triggered by life events or stressors. Chronic insomnia lasts for three months or longer (sometimes up to decades).
When should you seek treatment for insomnia?
Most of the time, acute insomnia resolves on its own. If you have been experiencing insomnia consistently for at least several weeks without any improvement, a consultation to assess your unique situation would be beneficial for you.
If you are currently experiencing chronic insomnia (lasting more than three months), it is time for you to reach out for treatment. There are several evidence-based treatment methods that can provide you with natural relief.
How is insomnia treated?
The American College of Physicians, a national organization of internists, the largest medical-specialty organization, and second-largest physician group in the United States, recommends all adults receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) as the initial treatment for chronic insomnia.
Although there are numerous medications available to treat insomnia, they are only meant for short-term use and often have many detrimental side effects. Because CBT-I has proven to be effective in treating adults with chronic insomnia across numerous rigorous research studies, it is currently the first line of treatment for insomnia.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia?
CBT adheres to the basic premise that psychological or emotional distress is maintained by unhelpful or maladaptive thoughts or behaviors and teaches people better ways of coping with their difficulties through modifying thoughts and behaviors.
While CBT can be used to treat a variety of disorders, a specific type of CBT, known as CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I), was developed for the exclusive purpose of treating insomnia.
CBT-I consists of several components:
Education on sleep and sleep hygiene
Time in bed restriction therapy
Stimulus control therapy
Counter arousal and relaxation tools
While many mental health practitioners are trained in general CBT techniques, there is currently a lack of providers with specific training and expertise in CBT for Insomnia. If you are interested in seeking treatment for your insomnia symptoms, it is very important that you find a provider who is specifically trained in CBT-I as the techniques used in this treatment are vastly different from the ones used in general CBT.
Dr. Moshfegh is certified in CBT-I and has years of experience treating individuals with insomnia disorders. Reach out today for more information on how Dr. Moshfegh can assist you in obtaining natural, effective insomnia relief.