CBT for insomnia methods need to be used for lasting benefit

Q:  I am a chronic insomniac.   I have tried CBT, anti-depressants, sleeping pills, melatonin,and every herbal tonic out there.   Any ideas?

A:  First, have you recently had a checkup with your physician to rule out any possible medical basis for your insomnia?

Medical causes could range from allergies to hyperthyroidism to obstructive sleep apnea. A checkup would be a good place to start. That’s our first suggestion.

Presuming you have primary insomnia, a very common condition that is not caused by an identifiable medical or psychiatric issue, then this suggests you have what many if not most with sleeping problems have: some combination of bad sleep habits and excessive worry about the idea of sleep. This is sometimes referred to as psychophysiological insomnia, though there can be many variants that go by different names.

The best solution to primary insomnia we know of is cognitive-behavioral therapy specifically applied to insomnia.  CBT is a combination of methods applied simultaneously that has enabled many insomniacs to become normal sleepers again. Its methods are so powerful that most everyone benefits to some degree.

You say you tried CBT previously. Do you still practice any of the methods you learned … such as sleep restriction to increase your sleep drive, stress management, and cognitive restructuring to address negative sleep thoughts?

CBT methods need to be used on an ongoing basis. The methods basically become part of a healthy sleep-supportive lifestyle, much like ongoing brushing and flossing your teeth become part of good dental hygiene. After a good checkup you just don’t say “my teeth are now healthy so I don’t need to brush anymore.” CBT works the same way.

So actually putting into beneficial use the CBT concepts and methods you learned would be our second suggestion. This would be something to do every day and make these tools part of a healthy normal lifestyle.  If you don’t remember or need a refresher on CBT methods, we invite you try the Sleep Training System — a permanent, drug-free, and user-friendly approach to implementing CBT specifically for sleep improvement.

For more information on the STS, or to ask a sleep question, please feel free to contact us.

Explore posts in the same categories: Health, Insomnia, sleep

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One Comment on “CBT for insomnia methods need to be used for lasting benefit”


  1. […] your sleep habits and address the negative thoughts that largely fuel insomia.   These methods combine and reinforce one another.  Many people who use CBT eventually become normal sleepers […]


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