Insomnia Therapy

Woman unable to fall asleep looking at clock


Chronic Insomnia

10% of Canadians have clinical insomnia requiring treatment. The definition of chronic insomnia is:

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)

CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) is the most effective first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. It is also an excellent alternative for patients who wish to treat their trouble sleeping at night without the use of sleep medication, and for those who wish to taper off or reduce their sleep medication. Most patients respond to treatment in 2-6 sessions. Both group and individual treatments are effective.



CBT-I addresses three factors that contribute to chronic insomnia


Sleep medications can be an effective short-term treatment and provide immediate symptom relief during a period of sleep deprivation due to high stress or grief. Medication for sleep can be beneficial when prescribed and monitored carefully by a sleep physician. However, long term use of sedatives can have adverse effects and that is why CBT-I is important for the long-term management of insomnia.

CBT-I is effective for insomnia long term. It also reduces depression, anxiety chronic pain, fibromyalgia, substance abuse, and PTSD in insomnia patients with these co-morbid health problems. Unlike pills, CBT-I addresses the underlying causes of insomnia. This process requires commitment, self-responsibility and a willingness to change on the part of the patient. In some cases, a combination of sleep medication and CBT-I may be the best approach.

CBT-I consists of several components. The most effective treatment approach may combine several of these methods:

Our Approach

At the Centre for Sleep & Human Performance our Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist works collaboratively with the Medical Director and Centre physicians to support an interdisciplinary approach to the diagnosis, management and treatment of insomnia.

Our CBT-I program is patient-focused and highly individualized. It guides patients to identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that contribute to sleep deprivation with effective strategies that optimize sleep, help re-gain confidence in sleeping, and to re-frame trouble sleeping in a constructive manner. The most relevant causes of insomnia are identified so patients can focus on changes that will most likely help their sleep problems. Our program consists of 2 to 6, 30-60 minute sessions with the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Specialist over 2-4 weeks and is covered through Alberta Health and Wellness, at no cost to the patient. The timing of your appointments is adjusted based on your progress and the program is extended if necessary to ensure you attain the benefit, success and confidence you need in managing your sleep, so you can focus on living a full life and enjoy restful sleep.

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