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How can cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) help me sleep better?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
One of the most effective sleep therapies is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy based on the idea that a person's thoughts and beliefs directly impact how they behave.

When you see a therapist who uses CBT, he or she will help you recognize and change the ways of thinking that are interfering with your sleep and help you determine the perfect time for you to go to bed so you can fall asleep in 20 or 30 minutes. Studies have shown that CBT is more effective than sleeping pills.
Here's how cognitive behavioral therapy can help you sleep:

• The cognitive portion of CBT is about recognizing, challenging, and changing the ways of thinking that keep you from falling asleep.

• If you can’t get to sleep easily at night and find yourself tossing and turning while awash in irritating thoughts, chances are you’re fueling your own fire with a distorted, stress-inducing behavior. CBT solution: challenge these thoughts, with the help of a sleep psychologist, as they may be distorted or inaccurate.

• The behavior portion is about sleep hygiene--the ways in which you prepare yourself for sleep. Go to bed at the perfect time for your body so you’re ready to fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes.

Studies have shown that cognitive behavior therapy can, in fact, beat sleeping pills. This proves just how powerful thoughts can be, and that getting restful sleep is often more about how you teach your mind to think than using any external trick such as a drug or other sleep aid.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.