Can Psychotherapy Treat Insomnia?

    Cognitive behavioural therapy is effective to combat insomnia.

    Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of psychological therapy that has been shown to be effective in combating insomnia. Cognitive therapy helps to quell the excessive worries present before sleep, clarify the correct expectations about sleep, and educate on proper sleep practices.[1] 

    Behavioural therapy uses relaxation-based strategies, such as progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, and mindfulness, typically in conjunction with other interventions for sleep promotion. This psychological therapy is also used for patients trying to wean off hypnotics.[2]

    [1] Ballesio, A., Bacaro, V., Vacca, M., Chirico, A., Lucidi, F., Riemann, D., ... & Lombardo, C. (2020). Does cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia reduce repetitive negative thinking and sleep-related worry beliefs? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 101378.

    [2] Morin, C. M., Bastien, C., Guay, B., Radouco-Thomas, M., Leblanc, J., & Vallières, A. (2004). Randomized clinical trial of supervised tapering and cognitive behavior therapy to facilitate benzodiazepine discontinuation in older adults with chronic insomnia. American Journal of Psychiatry161(2), 332-342. 

    Information provided by:

    Dr Keith Hariman headshot

    Dr Keith Hariman

    Specialist in Psychiatry, OT&P Healthcare

    Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.

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