CBT for Insomnia

Counselors diagnose insomniac patients when the problem exists for a long time. Yet, what causes insomnia? And how can insomnia be cured using CBT?

Insomnia may develop from many issues including mental and emotional issues, disorders, alcoholism, drug addictions, unmanaged stress, environment, physical causes and medications. It may also develop from PTSD, anxiety, stress, caffeine, drugs, alcoholism, etc. Whatever causes insomnia, though, it all stems from cognitive processes. Thus, using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for insomnia, we can help you better understand your mind: how it works and how you can conquer your sleeping disorder.

Insomnia can take over your life, especially if you have a medical problem. You may find it difficult to sleep at night because the physical pain overwhelms you. Conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and other related joint and muscle illnesses may cause excessive pain, which interrupts your sleep regularly. You may need medications from your doctor to help control your pain. Ultimately, you can learn some effective exercise routines to minimize pain.

You may have excessive life stress built up that takes over your mind, making it difficult for you to get to sleep at night. You may even have a mental disorder or emotional disorder, such as PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or other mental disorders that cause you to lose sleep. Regardless of what causes your insomnia, there is a way to conquer the disorder. In his guide, we will present you with eight steps to conquer insomnia. It is up to you to finish the worksheets we will provide you, to do the practices daily and follow other simple procedures as recommended in this guide.

To help you with your insomnia, first we are going to offer you some information so you have a better understanding of the causes of insomnia. In addition, to help you understand how CBT for insomnia works, we will give you some additional insight into these procedures.

What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)?

CBT "deals with how we gain information of the world". It deals with how we present information and how we transform it into knowledge. "Cognitive therapy also deals with how we store information" and the "total range of psychological processes - from sensation to perception, pattern recognition, attention, learning, memory, concept formation, thinking, imaging, remembering, language, emotions, and developmental processes" - CBT is used to help both the counselor and patient "cut across all the diverse fields of behavior." (Cognitive Psychology; Robert L. Solso; 1979; p. 1)

Using CBT for insomnia, we can explore thinking patterns and behaviors to find the roots of your insomnia problems and resolve issues that continue to cause you distress. CBT is designed to help you focus your attention on exploring your mind deeply, in order to find answers to solve your problems. Cognitively, you use your mind to connect with recognizing and understanding things that you observe, sense, smell, taste, etc. Cognitive Psychology is the science of how one connects to with the world and understands what is going on. In modern Cognitive psychology, theories and techniques are brought together from "eight principal areas of research". These principles include perception (how one perceives), "attention, memory, imagery, language functions, developmental psychology, thinking, and problem solving". CBT also concentrates on "artificial intelligence" (AI); each of these 8 areas will be covered throughout this guide, either unnoticeably or noticeably. One may use CBT techniques to conquer all sorts of mental and emotional disorders, or simply use cognitive techniques to solve life problems. You are going to use them to conquer insomnia.

You can use the following tables to help you discover the cause of your insomnia. Half the battle of healing includes knowing the cause of your problem and accepting that something is wrong.


Medical Causes of Insomnia

Chemical imbalances - when body chemicals are imbalanced, sleep disorders may develop.

Hormonal change - chemical imbalances, such as hormonal changes, may cause insomnia. Chemical imbalances may result from changes such as the menopause, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy or menstruation.

Decrease in Melatonin ( color-changing hormone) - this hormone comes from serotonin and is secrete by the pineal glands, which produce changes in skin color.

Allergies - allergies may cause you to have trouble sleeping because your skin may become irritated, itching, etc.

Arthritis - this is a painful joint condition, which affects the joints, causing swelling, stiffness and pain. Arthritis gets worse when it rains, according to most patients.

Asthma - is a respiratory disease, which may develop from allergies. Symptoms include difficulty sleeping, coughing, a tight feeling in the chest, etc.

Heart disease- may cause insomnia.

High blood pressure - may cause insomnia.

Hyperthyroidism - excessive thyroid hormones produced to dangerous levels.

Parkinson's Disease.

Fibromyalgia or pain - pain that causes discomfort from injury, or medical illness may cause interferences with sleep.



Psychological Causes of Insomnia

Anxiety - a condition, which causes you to experience intense feelings of tension, feelings of helplessness, apprehension, worry, fear, and uncertainty over environment changes, physical changes, financial burdens, working long hours, relationships, etc.

Stress occurs depending on how effectively a person can cope with physical, social, economic, emotional stress or other factors that require a change or response.

Depression - This mood disturbance is often characterized by feelings of discouragement, despair, and sadness.



Temporary Causes of Insomnia

Jet lag - an internal physical disturbance experienced by travelers on flights across various zones. The affects target the body's internal clock, which disrupts sleep patterns, eating habits and the body's temperature.

ASD (Adjustment Sleep Disorder) - this is a direct reaction to stress or change, which may occur as a result of traumatic events, e.g. the death of a loved one, natural disaster, etc.

Shifting work habits, e.g. shifting from working days to nights, or working long hours.

Medications - some medications have side-effects that may include insomnia; both prescription and nonprescription medications may cause insomnia.

Overuse of alcohol or caffeine - because your body loses REM sleep during sleep time after using excessive alcohol or caffeine, it could lead to insomnia.

Environment - changes such as noise, environmental change, extreme temperatures, etc., may cause insomnia.


The tables above shows a short list of causes of insomnia. There are many other causes, however. For example, people with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) often experience ongoing problems with falling asleep. These conditions are caused by traumatic events, such as being the victim of violence or witnessing or horrific violent act. The symptoms of this disorder often wake one up during sleep time, from night sweats and nightmares. One may develop insomnia as a result. Other problems may link to unresolved emotional conflicts. Perhaps you have rambling thoughts occurring each night you lie down to rest. This is a clear sign that you have unresolved issues to address. Finding answers, and solving the problems promptly, will help you conquer insomnia.

Regardless of what causes your insomnia or sleep disorder, you can get help with coping with the problem and managing your stress to recover your sleep time. If there is a medical condition causing your insomnia, we recommend that you also seek medical treatment from your doctor to get treatment on the medical side. We will help you on the cognitive side to understand and resolve your insomnia problems. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we will assist you with improving your awareness, way of thinking or behaving while helping you to minimize your stress. Be prepared for changes.

Making a self-diagnosis

Next, you will decide what the scale of your insomnia really is. This allows you to work it out and literally evaluate your mood for possibly the first time. By looking at how you feel, and what your problems are, you really are taking the first and most important step towards dealing with your stress.

By "working it out" you can give yourself both a confirmation that you are suffering from insomnia and also something to work from. Using this as a reference, you can gauge your level of insomnia and hopefully by the time you've finished this program you'll feel a lot better and for the first time in a while you'll be able to see some progress and achievements. Even just making this self-diagnosis is an achievement that you can be proud of.

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Summary

Previously, we helped you to find causes of insomnia, understand the condition some, and helped you to focus on finding the cause of your insomnia. Now you should be ready to begin the eight-step process to conquer insomnia or your sleep disorder. Using CBT for insomnia, we will take you systematically through a guide that allows you to express your feelings and thoughts in the worksheets, write in your diaries, and use the practices to conquer your insomnia. We will begin exploring the inner you to find peace from insomnia in 'Article 1: Who am I?'.

Throughout our lifetimes, we go through self-development phases, but people stop developing at different levels. That means you may find yourself with inabilities to cope with stress effectively, which causes insomnia. Perhaps you worry constantly, and in some cases, never know exactly what is on your mind. Therefore, instead of finding answers, when messages try to reveal themselves in your mind, you may often rebel. Stop that nonsense. If you want to heal yourself from insomnia, let your emotions express themselves freely. Do not combat feelings that cause you discomfort rather, allow the discomfort to transform into help you find answers to your problems.

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