Life / Health

Are you an insomniac? 'Cognitive behavioural therapy' might be the answer

Will you sleep well tonight?

If you answered “probably not,” you aren’t alone. Research tells us that three out of every four Canadian adults have sleep problems at some point in their lives.

While most of us reach for sleeping pills, few of us know how to solve sleep problems in the long term. A new Canadian book guides readers in a  different way of thinking and acting, called cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).

“Decades of research have shown that CBT-I works very well for insomnia,” says author Dr. Judith Davidson, a psychologist and scientist-clinician in the area of sleep and an assistant professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. “But access to CBT-I is extremely limited, almost non-existent, in Canada at this time. That is why I wrote Sink into Sleep. It is the same program that we use in the insomnia clinic.”

CBT-I goes much further than most “sleep hygiene” tips.

“The person with insomnia knows all (about) avoiding caffeine, making the bed comfortable, keeping the bedroom dark, having the bedroom the right temperature, getting exercise and doing relaxation,” says Davidson.

“It is the CBT-I techniques that they need, not more sleep hygiene education.”


Get to know the main principles of CBT-I

  • Stay up late. Put some pressure on your biological sleep drive by postponing bedtime

  • Get up at the same time. Do it each morning – seven days a week! This helps stabilize your circadian (24-hour) sleep-wake rhythm

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