What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for insomnia?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that focuses on changing negative thinking patterns (cognitions) and unhelpful habits (behaviours) which are associated with insomnia. By learning cognitive techniques to address worrying and the ‘racing mind’, and applying positive behavioural strategies, an individual suffering with insomnia can achieve better sleep.

The diagram below highlights how our thoughts and behaviours can create a vicious cycle of insomnia, and the negative emotional and physical consequences of poor sleep.

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CBT is a collaborative and pragmatic therapy that has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of insomnia, giving the individual life long skills to help achieve good quality sleep. It has a success rate of 80% in the treatment of chronic insomnia.

Research evidence has shown that CBT for insomnia is more effective than taking sleeping medication (which should only be used as a short term measure), as the improvements in sleep quality are well sustained without the need to rely on tablets.

Furthermore, many people who have suffered from problems with sleeping and been on long term sleeping medications, have been able to stop their tablets due to the success they have experienced with CBT. It is recognised as the treatment of choice by the scientific community for chronic insomnia.