What is Insomnia?

People with insomnia may have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or may wake too early.  They also usually experience the effects of poor sleep during the day time, such as:

  • Feeling tired or having low energy

  • Trouble with attention, concentration, and memory

  • Becoming easily irritated

Insomnia may arise as a primary disorder or it may be associated with various mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.  In some individuals, insomnia is related to physical health issues, medications, substance use, or changes in lifestyle.

What is CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I)?

CBT-I is an evidence-based therapy program for insomnia. The American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the National Institutes of Health recommend that all adult patients with chronic insomnia receive CBT-I as their first line of treatment. CBT-I is a non-medication approach that focuses on the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to poor sleep and a treatment that provides clients with proven strategies to help them prevent and overcome sleep problems. The foundation of CBT-I is sleep hygiene and sleep scheduling. 

What is Enhanced CBT-I?

Here at CBTDenver we compliment CBT-I with cutting edge techniques to address the anxiety, stress, frustration and depression that are often associated with insomnia. These approaches include, mindfulness, acceptance, distress tolerance, cognitive strategies, and relaxation training. 

In addition to teaching our clients foundational principles in cognitive restructuring, sleep hygiene, and sleep efficiency, we also target frequent co-travelers to poor sleep; stress, anxiety, and mood disturbance.  We work with clients to examine their individual values and goals and help people identify the challenges that get in the way of pursuing these objectives.  CBT Denver clinicians are experts in integrating skills from various evidenced-based interventions including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and mindfulness.  We work with each individual to assess the most appropriate skill set, which may include distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, structure and goal setting, and breathing/relaxation practices.  


CBT for insomnia usually requires between 4 to 12 weekly 50-minute sessions to be effective.  Some clients may require more sessions if they have an underlying anxiety disorder, depression, health issues or are experiencing a complicated life transition. 


Most people participating in CBT-I usually notice improvement in their sleep quality after a few sessions resulting in increased alertness, concentration skills, and energy.  Our goal is to establish a reasonable sleep plan, which is different for everyone, and then progress towards that goal.  One basic piece of data in determining program effectiveness is the ratio of time spent in bed vs time spent sleeping.  We aim to help our clients sleep for the majority of the time they spend in bed.  It may sound daunting, but the principles of CBT-I are proven effective for many people.  


  • Attend sessions regularly to increase effectiveness

  • Work with your therapist to set weekly sleep goals

  • Monitor your sleep using a simple sleep diary each morning

  • Implement specific strategies to help retrain thinking and behavior patterns to get better sleep

At CBT Denver, we know that not every treatment approach is a perfect fit for every person and every condition.  That’s why we offer a number of different treatment approaches that allow us to bring our best, most personalized care to every client in our practice.

During your initial consultation session, we will listen to your challenges and goals and will offer information about evidence-based treatments that best fit you and your desired outcomes.  Together we can develop the best treatment approach or approaches that work for you.

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