Research & Articles

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.

– Dale Carnegie

Carnegie’s quote taps into the heart of the matter – worry about sleep. The worry so many people know all too well. Lying in bed hoping and struggling to fall asleep. Sometimes it is more than worry. Sometimes it is panic. Panic due to feeling out of control. Panic about the dire consequences if you keep missing out on sleep.

This worry can pervade your waking hours. Even during the day, you can find yourself apprehensive about the possibility of another difficult night of sleep.

Unfortunately, telling yourself to stop worrying rarely works. Just reading Carnegie’s good advice will not magically turn a person into someone who no longer “worries” about sleep. If it were only that simple.

So, what to do? It’s not a problem easily ignored. It forces you to pay attention. You could continue doing what you are doing. If so, you can probably expect about\ the same results. Or you can try something different. But what should you try?

We believe your best bet is to choose a treatment that is supported by highquality research. That research strongly points to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). In the pages below, you will see that reputable scientific and medical organizations judge CBT-I to be the treatment of choice for insomnia. Our recommendation is, therefore, that you should try CBT-I for sleep problems that cause distress or interfere with your life.

To give CBT-I a fair chance of helping you, it should be done properly. Optimally, you should obtain assistance from a licensed practitioner who is trained to administer CBT-I. Unfortunately, that may not be possible, which is the primary reason we wrote this book. The SomniSkills Workbook was written to mimic, as much as possible, the treatment program that would be provided by a trained CBTI practitioner.

For the best outcome, it is best to follow the step-by-step instructions in the Workbook. We have worked hard to make those instructions easy to follow. But even if you are not ready to commit to following all the instructions, you will benefit from simply reading the SomniSkills Workbook. It will give you an excellent idea of what CBT-I is all about. You will learn exactly what the experts are recommending. You are also bound to learn some useful information about insomnia and how to cope with it.

Finally, we want to make four important points about the SomniSkills Workbook:

  1. This book was written for anyone who wants to improve their sleep. Don’t concern yourself with whether you meet the diagnostic criteria for “insomnia.” For our purposes, the term “insomnia” refers to sleep problems that are upsetting or interfere with a person’s life. If that describes your problem with sleep, then you are likely to benefit from the SomniSkills Workbook.
  2. We do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone is different. A variety of factors can contribute to sleep problems. The causes of your sleep problems may not be the same as the causes of another person’s. The SomniSkills Workbook offers a tool called the “Formulator.” The Formulator enables you to identify the factors contributing to your sleep problems. Then you will be guided to create a personalized treatment plan designed to address those factors.
  3. You do not have to give up sleep medication to benefit from CBT-I. Many people depend on sleep medication. Many do not want to give up sleep medication until there is a better alternative. You DO NOT have to give up sleep medication to benefit from learning the SomniSkills taught in this Workbook. We devote an entire chapter to the use of sleep medication.
  4. The guiding principle of CBT-I is that you can control how well you sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is not a mysterious, uncontrollable event. You can do something about it! It basically comes down to changing habits. The goal is to rid yourself of habits that interfere with a good night’s sleep, while developing habits that improve sleep. We call the beneficial habits, SomniSkills. The steps to learning the SomniSkills are not difficult. Anyone can do them. It requires more than just reading an inspirational quote like Dale Carnegie’s. But the benefits are available to those who persist.

Recommendation 1: The American College of Physicians recommends that all adult patients receive cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) as the initial treatment for chronic insomnia disorder.

Clinical Guideline for the Management of Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, July 2016.
https://doi.org/10.7326/M15-2175

”Psychological and behavioral interventions are effective in the treatment of both chronic primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.”

Standards of Practice Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Practice Parameters for the Psychological and Behavioral Treatment of Insomnia: An Update. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Report, SLEEP, 2006.

https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/29.11.1415

“Use of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is recommended as
the first-line treatment.”

Clinical Management of Insomnia Disorder. Journal of the American Medical Association, November 2017.

https://doi:10.1001/jama.2017.15683

“When these cognitive methods have been added to the behavioral methods to compose a cognitive-behavioral treatment package, it has been found to be as effective as prescription medications are for brief treatment of chronic insomnia. Moreover, there are indications that the beneficial effects of CBT, in contrast to those produced by medications, may last well beyond the termination of treatment.”

Manifestations and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults. National Institutes of Health, State of the Science Conference Statement June 13–15, 2005.

https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/28.9.1049

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