Approximately 30% of the US population endorses some symptoms of insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Of that population, nearly 40% have some other mental health issue. People who suffer from insomnia are at significantly greater risk of developing mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or substance abuse disorders (or returning to old patterns of use).
There are several markers for Insomnia. If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and it takes more than 30 minutes to fall back asleep, you are dealing with bouts of insomnia. If that insomnia happens more than 3 nights per week, for more than 3 months, then you are dealing with chronic insomnia.
If that describes you, then you have probably tried several treatments in the past, from sleep medication to working on sleep hygiene. Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia (CBT-I) is an empirically supported treatment for insomnia. As seen in the NYTimes, CBT-I has been shown to be as effective as sleep aid medications during acute treatment and even more effective in the long-term. It is a combination of the most effective methods for working with sleep disorders: Stimulus Control Therapy, Sleep Restriction Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Relaxation Training. For a nice write-up of CBT-I, see this NY Times article.
CBT-I is a 6 – 8 week treatment that focuses on developing healthy long-term sleep habits and ending the cycle of insomnia. By targeting the precipitating factors that keep insomnia going, we work to help individuals fall asleep and stay asleep on a consistent basis. This treatment can be done in conjunction with other treatments or as a stand-alone treatment.
Lack of sleep can result in many difficulties, including the following:
If you are concerned that you may have a sleep problem, or are interested in learning more about different treatments for insomnia and your options, please feel free to contact me for a sleep evaluation. Dr. King is trained in CBT-I and is a founding member of the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine.