Cognitive-Behavioral Group Treatment for Insomnia

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What is Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, and feeling tired upon waking. There are two types of insomnia: In primary insomnia, a person has sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. In secondary insomnia a person has sleep problems because of something else, such as a health condition like asthma, depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartburn); pain; medication they are taking; or a substance they are using (like alcohol or drugs). Cognitive-behavioral treatments (CBT) are effective for both types of insomnia, and include the following elements:

* careful monitoring and then restructuring of daily sleeping and waking patterns

* learning different ways to think about a) issues which interfere with healthy sleep, and b) sleep itself

* changing behaviors which contribute to sleep problems

* relaxation strategies to naturally induce sleep

 * the use of special lighting to promote sleep

Use this quiz to determine if your insomnia is serious enough to warrant professional cognitve-behavioral  treatment:

Yes/No 1. Do you currently take prescription or over-the-counter medication, drink alcohol, or use street drugs to help you get to, or stay, asleep?

Yes/No 2. Have you lost the ability to wake up feeling refreshed and rested?

Yes/No 3. Do you take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night?

Yes/No 4. Do you wake up more than 30 minutes before you intend to in the morning?

Yes/No 5. Do you take more than 10 minutes to return to sleep if you wake up during the night?

Yes/No 6. Do you unintentionally fall asleep (e.g. at work, while watching TV, reading)?

Any one “Yes” response indicates a sleep problem that may benefit from cognitive-behavioral treatment.  Two or more “Yes” responses are a strong indication for treatment.

                                  Other Practical Information

In order to assure that a psycho-educational group is the most appropriate treatment for your insomnia, an individual evaluation session is required with Dr. Spayd prior to the first group. The six group treatment sessions will then be held on consecutive Thursdays, from 7:00 - 8:15 p.m., November 9 – December 14, 2006.  Please contact the office regarding future session dates. Members are asked to make a commitment to the group for the full 6-week block of sessions. 


The fee is $155.00 for the initial 1-hour evaluation session and $40.00 per 75-minute group session.  Many health insurance plans cover the cost of both the individual and group sessions—We will gladly help you determine your insurance coverage.

                       How do I get enrolled in the group?

Simply call Dr. Spayd’s office, at 693-0617, to schedule your initial evaluation and register for the group!

Responses to Common Questions

“I’m uncomfortable sharing my sleep problems in front of strangers.”

This is a very common reaction. Of course, other participants are thinking the same thing.  Sharing personal information is a big risk--that is why a strong emphasis is placed on establishing trust within the group. Participants are not pushed to speak before they feel ready.  However, most members find that they have much in common with others, and soon feel comfortable sharing these similarities.

“What if other group members “blab” about me around town?”

Orientation to the program includes briefing in a group-wide confidentiality agreement -- all participants share a commitment to keep what’s said (and even who’s) in the room within the room.  Confidentiality is taken very seriously, since each member benefits from the trust thus established.

 “Why is the program provided in a group format?”

 A group format is used to promote the sharing of concerns, ideas and solutions with others who experience similar sleep problems. The group format also is an efficient and cost-effective way to treat a larger number of people—and many people have insomnia!  Only about half of adults get a good night's sleep almost every night, and one in six adults report getting less than six hours of sleep nightly.


“Does this program really work?”


Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT) for insomnia is a well-recognized clinical approach. Results from recent research studies consistently support the claim that CBT is equally or more effective than sleep medications in the short-run, and more effective than sleep medications in the long-term.  Please feel free to ask your physician about behavioral treatment as an addition to, or alternative to, other medical interventions.


Click here to see more details about the course outline for this group treatment.

Click here to learn more about research evidence of the effectiveness of CBT for Insomnia