Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Sleep disturbances, common among those in recovery, are not only a nuisance, but they can also derail new-found sobriety. When you’re sleep-deprived, you don’t function at your optimum level. There is a solution to the troubles of insomnia. Pennsylvania cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is recommended as the first treatment option.

Effects of Insomnia

Even without being in recovery, sleep deprivation makes a person more susceptible to developing infections, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease – and to making on-the-job mistakes, driving errors and having other problems with learning and memory. Multiply those problems with those that you experience in recovery – depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, feelings of inadequacy and more – and you have a nearly sure-fire recipe for disaster. It doesn’t have to be so. Sure, there are medications that are available to aid in sleep, but these shouldn’t be taken by those with a history of substance abuse or addiction. They are only meant for a few days, and they can easily become habit-forming. You never want to add to your addiction profile by taking yet another drug when you just got clean and sober through treatment. Besides, sleeping pills lose their effectiveness over time, and also contribute to the following:

  • Potentially severe interactions with alcohol and other medications
  • Rebound insomnia or constant grogginess that leads to more insomnia
  • Short-term amnesia, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion, and high blood pressure
  • Mask underlying causes, such as depression, heart trouble, or other diseases, and cause a delay in seeking treatment
  • Bizarre behavior that goes beyond traditional sleepwalking

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

One treatment therapy you may be familiar with from your days in treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. In fact, CBT has emerged as a very effective treatment for those suffering from insomnia, or chronic sleep disturbances. It is an excellent and safe alternative to sleeping pills. This short-term treatment also can assist in ridding you of depression, panic attacks, anxiety and other problems associated with your former drug or alcohol use. In a clinical practice guideline created by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, CBT was found to provide sleep benefits during initial intervention treatment. CBT for insomnia increases effectiveness when paired with other substance abuse treatment programs.

How CBT Works

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia works by helping you to change thoughts and actions. With respect to an inability to sleep, CBT targets those thoughts and actions that interfere with sleep. The approach is based on the fact that what you think and how you act affects the way you feel. Treatment usually requires 4 to 8 30-minute sessions with a trained CBT sleep therapist. Through CBT techniques, you learn to:

  • Recognize and change false beliefs that may be interfering with your good night’s sleep
  • Deal with misperceptions you may have about how long you actually sleep
  • Reprogram your brain’s sleep-wake cycle
  • Target specific behaviors that negatively impact sleep, including lack of exercise and drinking caffeinated beverages before going to sleep

Different CBT Elements for Dealing With Insomnia

CBT uses a multi-faceted approach to dealing with insomnia, just as it does in treating other conditions. But CBT does require practice in order to be most effective. Some or all of the following may be effective in your particular case:

  •  Relaxation training – includes muscle relaxation, meditation, and hypnosis
  • Biofeedback – measures muscle tension and brain wave frequency, with the goal of helping you to control them
  • Sleep restriction – reducing the amount of time you spend in bed not sleeping
  • Sleep hygiene – eliminating negatively impactful activities such as drinking caffeine, smoking, not exercising regularly
  • Stimulus control – helps you associate the bedroom with only two activities: sleep and sex
  • Remaining passively awake – a technique that helps you avoid anxiety about going to sleep, forgetting about it, so that you eventually fall asleep
  • Cognitive control and psychotherapy – A technique to eliminate or control worrisome thoughts or mistaken beliefs that keep you awake

Finding Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Aftercare counselors at The Ranch recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. Call 1.844.876.7680 today to enroll in CBT for insomnia. When you’re not in a CBT program, there are safe at-home alternatives to try for insomnia, including:

The important thing is not to give up. You deserve a restful night’s sleep and, in fact, it’s the only way you’ll be able to continue with your goals for your recovery. Don’t sell yourself short getting by on less sleep than you really need. With practice and determination, you can lick your sleep disturbance problem – just as you kicked drugs and alcohol. After all, you’ve got all the tools at your disposal. Now, it’s just up to you to use them. Contact The Ranch to find opportunities for CBT even if you’ve never seen us before.

Scroll to Top