Insomnia? There’s an App for That!

Insomnia? There’s an App for That!

In Christopher Nolan’s 2002 thriller Insomnia, Al Pacino plays a detective who accidentally shoots his partner while trying to apprehend a suspect. His guilt, plus the never-setting Alaskan sun (that’s where he’s investigating the case) rob him of sleep, even when he’s past the point of exhaustion.

But you don’t need nagging guilt and the midnight sun to suffer chronic insomnia. Fully one third of Americans have trouble falling or staying asleep. Luckily, there’s a breakthrough treatment for chronic insomnia called CBT-I (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia).

The idea is to identify and replace negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to poor quality sleep with positive, sleep-inducing ones. And it works! Studies have consistently shown CBT-I can help people fall asleep more easily, sleep longer and have a better quality of sleep. And it gets you off those sleeping meds that can trigger all kinds of pseudo-awake, weird behavior and moods.

You can even do CBT-I by using an app in the comfort of your own home, although you can certainly find a certified therapist and opt for a more personal touch. A few popular apps include GO!ToSleep (from Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic), Sleepio, Shut-I and Conquering Insomnia. They all help you identify underlying issues, such as poor sleep habits, stress or negative thoughts associated with bed and then help you tackle these problems. While you have to be committed to finding a solution to your insomnia for CBT-I to work, if you are, you may be enjoying sweet dreams within a few weeks.

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

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