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January 2011



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By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 29, 2010

As anyone with insomnia will attest, the condition is detrimental for both mental and physical health. If insomnia is combined with anxiety, depression or chronic pain, dangerous disordered thinking may result.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), however, may be a remedy for this multi-faceted problem.

“When you have another disorder, you face unique barriers that other people do not,” says Dr. Colleen Carney, director of Ryerson University’s Sleep and Mood Disorder Program.

“For example, a conventional insomnia strategy involves getting out of bed at the same time every day. But someone with depression may wonder, “what if I have nothing to get out of bed for?”

Carney’s latest book is Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep: Solutions to Insomnia for Those With Depression, Anxiety or Chronic Pain.

One in every seven individuals experience problems going to sleep and/or staying asleep.

Furthermore, insomnia is a characteristic of almost all psychological diagnoses. Sleep clinics also report that insomnia patients with psychological disorders outnumber those without other conditions at a rate of nearly two to one.

Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep suggests many cognitive behavioral solutions to insomnia. Some of the tips in the book include:

    * Never get into bed earlier than your usual bedtime.
    * When you catch yourself “trying” to sleep, remind yourself that this is counterproductive.
    * Learn about sleep myths, such as “I absolutely require eight hours of sleep to function during the day.”
    * Actively challenge unhelpful beliefs that may worsen your sleeplessness, such as “Something terrible will happen to you as a result of insomnia.”
    * Leave your bed and bedroom if you can’t sleep.

Previous research studies have also demonstrated that CBT offers many advantages over sleep-aid medications. Among them, CBT is a non-pharmacological treatment that is just as useful as medication (and has longer-lasting effects).

CBT doesn’t carry the risks of dependency or tolerance (requiring increasing the dosage for the drug to remain effective) that are associated with medication. The technique also builds confidence in one’s ability to sleep.

Source: Ryerson University


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