What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapy that corrects thoughts (the cognitive part) and actions (the behavioral part) at the root of larger problem (bad sleep, for example). CBT in various iterations has been around for years with the first behavioral therapy trials taking place over a century ago, and cognitive therapy appearing in the 1960s.
Cognitive Behavioral therapy is about learning new behavior and creating new habits based on healthier thought processes. After first analyzing the problem and identifying its triggers, CBT sets objectives which are then achieved through the completion of precise tasks and exercises. In short, CBT helps you find practical techniques to combat a specific problem or disorder. With Dreem, you have access to a personalized coaching program inspired by CBT in order to fight your insomnia, results are quite impressive.
CBT versus chronic insomnia
The only treatment for insomnia recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO)
CBT is often used to battle against phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders. But it can also help people suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, bulimia, PTSD and bipolar disorder. What’s more, CBT is now unanimously recognized as the most effective treatment for chronic insomnia, ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the standard insomnia treatment, ahead of sleeping pills or other natural sleep aids.
A healthier solution to pharmaceutical tradition?
Studies have proven that when it comes to sleep, CBT is more effective than pharmaceutical solutions. There is a marked overall improvement of sleep in terms of length and quality, without forgetting positive effects during the day.
Undertaking a course of CBT (without taking sleeping pills) allows a reduction in the daytime symptoms of insomnia. These symptoms can include mood swings and concentration difficulties. What’s more anxiety, fatigue, and symptoms of depression show improvement. This effectiveness is considerable, especially seeing the worldwide prevalence of sleeping pills.
Benzodiazepines (or benzos as they’re sometimes known) are a family of medications prescribed for anxiety or sleep problems. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of U.S adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67%, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million.1
It’s also worth mentioning “z-drugs” (or non-benzodiazepines). In 2015, 3.8 million US adults were prescribed zolpidem, 68% of users were talking the medication for longer than recommended periods.2
Let’s be clear here, the point of this article isn’t to completely bash all pharmaceutical solutions or to fear-monger, but the numbers are significant and these medications come with a flurry of side-effects, significantly their tendency to create dependence. The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that an estimated 497,000 people aged 12 or older misused sedatives in 2016; also in that year, an estimated two million people aged 12 or older misused tranquilizers.
In certain cases, CBT can be a safer solution without side-effects.
Digital CBT- the future of therapy is here
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia treatment (CBT-I) was traditionally prescribed and monitored by therapists. But, a course of digital CBT can be even more successful. Here’s why:
Traditional CBT is restrictive
You have to visit the doctor or therapist regularly over several weeks. Which isn’t very practical if you have time constraints, professional or family commitments. It can also start to get pretty pricy.
Traditional CBT can lack precision
As part of traditional CBT, the therapist will ask you to keep a sleep journal, in which, every morning you note your impressions of the previous night’s sleep or how many times you woke up during the night. Actually sticking to your sleep journal can be tricky- it takes commitment and what’s more, it’s difficult to give objective and precise data on your own sleep.
Traditional CBT can’t provide daily support
Following a CBT program isn’t easy. With sleep restriction, you’ll likely feel more irritable and ready to break and even abandon the therapy completely. Which is why receiving a little dose of advice and encouragement every day can go a long way. Of course, this is tricky with traditional CBT where seeing your therapist every day isn’t practical, feasible or financially sound.
For these reasons, we at Dreem developed a program of CBT that helps you to find a lasting resolution to your insomnia.
What are the advantages of Dreem’s digital CBT program?
No need to leave the house to consult a therapist with Dreem’s digital CBT program. Throughout the 6-8 week program, you’ll receive all the instructions you need via our Dreem Coach app (the coach is coming with the Dreem Band).
The Dreem Band’s 5 sensors allow us to precisely measure biological signals- brain activity, heart rate, respiratory rate, movement. This means that you no longer need to keep a sleep journal every morning, the headband does it for you and will share the info with you in your Sleep Report.
Advice and encouragement every day
The Dreem Band provides you with personalized recommendations and daily encouragement all with the goal of helping you achieve improved sleep in the long-term.
1. Bachhuber MA, Hennessy S, Cunningham CO, Starrels JL. Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996-2013. Am J Public Health. 2016;106(4):686-688. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2016.303061
2. Moore TJ, Mattison DR. Assessment of Patterns of Potentially Unsafe Use of Zolpidem. JAMA Intern Med.2018;178(9):1275–1277. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.3031