If you are like many people reading this article, you see "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia" and think, what is that? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, often called CBT-I, is an approved method for treating insomnia without the use of sleeping pills. Sound impossible? It isn't. Sounds like hard work? It can be. CBT is aimed at changing sleep habits and scheduling factors, as well as misconceptions about sleep and insomnia, that perpetuate sleep difficulties.
In fact, the recent National Institute of Health state-of-the science meeting on insomnia concluded that CBT-I is a safe and effective means of managing chronic insomnia and its effects. At this point you may be thinking, "That is great, but I still don't know what CBT-I is." Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia includes regular, often weekly, visits to a clinician, who will give you a series of sleep assessments, ask you to complete a sleep diary and work with you in sessions to help you change the way you sleep.
For Christine, a swim and safety instructor for the U.S. Navy, a simple cat nap while recovering from knee surgery turned into a full bout of insomnia. She explained, "I had to take medication for the excruciating pain and it would make me sleepy. My doctor told me to stay on bed rest but I found it difficult to lie around all day without drifting to sleep. However, day time napping was making a big impact on my ability to fall and stay asleep at night. When the pain in my knee finally went away and I headed back to work, I found that I was hooked on napping."
Christine went back to work and curtailed her mid-day napping but found that as soon as she got home she felt like dozing. She started going to bed earlier and earlier. For a person who gets up at 4:00am to go to work, this seemed like a good idea – except she was rarely sleeping soundly through the night and wound up feeling