Can Therapy Help With Insomnia?

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Daren Carlson, MA, LMFT, Outpatient Therapist  Dealing with insomnia can be challenging, to say the least. When you can't get a good night's sleep, it can make the rest of your day difficult to get through. And this cycle can have a negative impact on your relationships, mental health, and physical health.   The good news is that you do not have to suffer from insomnia forever. There are ways to get your sleep back and improve your well-being, including cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).   Related: How Interpersonal Effectiveness Improves Your Relationships

What is Insomnia? 

Insomnia is when you have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. It is a common sleep disorder that can lead to other problems over time such as low energy, problems at work or school, and difficulty concentrating. It can also make mental health problems worse.   Insomnia can be caused by life stressors. For example, life stressors include things like your job, relationships, finances, and life transitions. These stressors can keep you from getting quality rest. As a result, chronic pain, bad sleeping habits, hormone fluctuations, and mental health disorders can stem from chronic lack of sleep.  Related: How to Cope With Life Transitions

Insomnia & Mental Health 

Typically, for most people, insomnia is not an isolated disorder. It is usually linked to a mental health condition or another medical illness. For others, it is associated with lifestyle choices and life stressors as mentioned above.  Certain mental health diagnoses can also disrupt your sleep. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for instance, is one disorder that can cause changes in sleep patterns. Insomnia is a common symptom of depression and anxiety as well. “Insomnia affects mood and energy levels which in some cases exacerbates peoples' experience of mental health symptoms, for example, with anxiety and depression,Daren Carlson states.  Related: PTSD & EMDR Therapy  

What Is CBT-I?  

CBT-I is a therapeutic intervention with a trained provider that treats the underlying causes of insomnia without the use of sleeping pills.  Its goal is to focus on thoughts and/or behaviors that cause or make sleeping patterns worse. In addition, CBT-I aims to engrain habits that promote restful sleep.  Most importantly, CBT-I has been shown to be as effective for treating insomnia that occurs along with another medical or mental health condition.  Firstly, treatment begins with an extensive assessment and includes individual, one-hour outpatient therapy sessions for the duration of treatment. Treatment is typically 8-12 sessions. Throughout treatment, you will concentrate on cognitive, behavioral, and psychoeducational interventions. This includes: 
  • Changing unhelpful thought patterns surrounding sleep.  
  • Developing healthy sleep habits and relaxation techniques. For example, breathing exercises, meditation, muscle relaxation, etc. 
  • Learning the connection between behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and sleep.  
“It is not uncommon for individuals to experience diminished mental health symptoms or report better management of mental health symptoms when opting to treat their insomnia with CBT-I.“ That is to say, mental health symptoms and insomnia can be managed with the help of CBT-I. Related: Men's Mental Health: What You Need to Know

Who is Eligible for CBT-I at Nystrom & Associates? 

Our CBT-I providers have been specifically trained in this treatment and will offer a clear, systematic session-by-session approach that is proven to effectively treat insomnia. Meanwhile, you will learn and develop skills to maintain healthy sleep behaviors long-term.   You are eligible to receive CBT-I treatment if you are: 
  • Age 18+ 
  • Having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning 
Moreover, most health insurance plans including Medical Assistance and Pre-Paid Medical Assistance plans cover CBT-I treatment. 

A Word From Nystrom & Associates 

In short, therapy provides the opportunity to learn why you may be having difficulty sleeping and an outlet for guided help to get a restful night's sleep. If you’re having trouble with insomnia, our CBT-I providers can help. Call 1-844-NYSTROM or request an appointment online today.  For more information on insomnia, visit the insomnia specialty page. 

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