I only do one thing: provide CBT-I for adults (18-64) struggling with insomnia and related conditions.
How did you get here?
Life happens, and virtually everyone will have occasional bouts of acute insomnia related to life changes and stress (think new parents, work stress, medical illnesses, etc.). However, chronic insomnia—in which insomnia persists for months, years, even decades—is an entirely different beast. If you are reading this, you probably know the drill: lying in bed awake, worrying how you will possibly function tomorrow, crushing fatigue during the day. Studies have shown that chronic insomnia can be a risk factor for depression, heart disease, disrupted immune functioning, obesity, and type II diabetes. An estimated ten percent of US adults suffer from chronic insomnia, so you are certainly not alone.
What can you do?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends a psychological/behavioral intervention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) as the first line treatment for primary insomnia. CBT-I is a short (usually 6-8 sessions), highly structured treatment. Unlike general psychotherapy, CBT-I only focuses on sleep. It teaches you how to develop good sleep habits and avoid the behaviors that perpetuate insomnia. It also involves changing beliefs about sleep that maintain insomnia. Perhaps you have already tried medications, with disappointing results. Unlike medications, CBT-I addresses the underlying problems that create and perpetuate chronic insomnia. It is not a band-aid; it aims to resolve the problem.
How effective is CBT-I?
CBT-I has an extensive research base. While individuals results may vary, 70-80% of people experience improvement with their sleep by using CBT-I. While medications may be appropriate for temporary sleep disturbance associated with stress or grief, CBT-I consistently demonstrates greater long-term improvement in sleep vs. medications. And unlike medications, the positive changes associated with CBT-I appear to last, and may even grow over time.