What is the best treatment for insomnia?
Insomnia is a highly distressing condition and can leave people feeling defeated and helpless. To overcome insomnia it is important to understand the underlying causes. As a first step to overcoming insomnia, see your GP to explore the reason you are not sleeping well. It is important to rule out any medical conditions that might be affecting your sleep.
The good news is that insomnia is treatable! The most effective long-term treatment for insomnia is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi) with the newest development of this model: a mindfulness-based CBTi treatment, also known as Mindfulness Based Therapy for Insomnia (MBTI)
CBTi and mindfulness-based therapies have been developed and researched for over 35 years, and have been shown to have the strongest and longest benefits for sleep than any other treatment. CBTi has been recommended by the Sleep Health Foundation and the Australasian Sleep Association recommends as the first line, gold standard treatment for insomnia.
Mindfulness-based CBTi the approach taught in our online A Mindful Way to Healthy Sleep program.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia
CBTi and Mindfulness-based CBTi can help you to change unhelpful sleep habits and behaviours, shift unhelpful thinking patterns that interfere with sleep, and help you learn to relax the mind and body, to reduce tension, stress and frustration often associated with insomnia.
There are five main components to CBTI, which include:
1. Stimulus control
2. Sleep Consolidation
3. Sleep Hygiene
4. Relaxation training
5. Cognitive Therapy
6. Mindfulness Training
A recent analysis of all the research on CBTi showed that on average people went to sleep 19 minutes faster and stayed asleep 26 minutes longer after a CBTi intervention. When compared to sleep medication, CBTi has longer lasting benefits, and does not have the negative side effects produced by medication.
For more detailed information see our page on CBTi.
Mindfulness Training includes understanding how the principles of mindfulness (patience, acceptance, non-judgment, letting go, beginners mind, trust, and non-striving) all assist with healthy sleep. It includes learning a range of mindfulness meditation practices (e.g., body scan, mindfulness of breath, mindful walking, mindfulness of emotions, a three-minute breathing space) and to assist with helping the busy mind to focus and settle.
Mindfulness training can help you break the cycle of insomnia, by teaching you how to let go of trying to sleep, thereby reducing anxiety and tension and helping you to relax the body and calm the mind.
Learn more about mindfulness and sleep.
A word on sleep medications
Sleep medication may be helpful for some people in the short term for acute insomnia, if you are feeling particularly distressed about not sleeping. Unfortunately, the side effects of sleep medications can be worse that the symptoms of a poor night’s sleep (e.g., daytime drowsiness, constipation or diarrhoea, dry mouth, dizziness, stomach pains and gas. etc) and may therefore outweigh the benefits. Also, some medications can become addictive and cause problems with memory and attention.
The other main problem with sleeping pills is that they are unlikely to address the underlying causes of your insomnia, so they won’t offer you a long-term solution.
Learn more about sleep medications here.
Where can I access a Mindfulness-based CBTi progam?
Our online course, A Mindful Way to Healthy Sleep, is the only online program in Australia that offers a Mindfulness-based CBTi treatment approach to overcome insomnia, combining intensive mindfulness training with a full CBTi treatment package.
The six-week course teaches you everything you need to know about sleep and takes you step by step through the proven strategies to help improve the quality of your sleep and spend less time awake in bed.
The course is taught through a series of video lessons and practical exercises presented by Dr Giselle Withers, a clinical psychologist with a background in sleep psychology. From the comfort of your own home, you’ll have access to the gold standard treatment approach for insomnia.
See our home page
for more information.