Your Sleep Apnea and Snoring Professionals
#101 -15 Canada Ave
Duncan, BC V9L 1T3


1255B Cliffe Avenue
Courtenay, BC V9N 2K3


277 Evergreen Road
Campbell River, BC V9W 5Y4


#3-5144 Metral Drive
Nanaimo, BC V9T 2K8


What is CBT-i?

Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, is a form of therapy designed to address unhelpful behaviours and thoughts regarding sleep. It is safe, evidence-based and effective for treating insomnia. It is considered first-line therapy for insomnia, which means we should be trying this first before trying other treatment options for sleep, including sleeping pills. It can be difficult to find a provider who offers CBT-I however, as it’s not a common skill set for many practitioners.

Recommendations are tailored to individual patients and may include:

  1. Sleep hygiene

In general, these are recommendations to help “set the stage” for healthy sleep. For a brief overview, please see our other blog post on “sleep hygiene”.

  • Stimulus control therapy

This generally refers to keeping the bed and bedroom only for sleep (eg. Not watching TV or doing work in bed), going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, avoiding napping during the day, going to bed only when sleepy, and getting out of bed if you’re not falling asleep.

  • Sleep restriction therapy

This type of therapy should only be done under supervision of a trained healthcare provider, as it can be potentially dangerous for some people. In general, it refers to restricting the amount of time in bed for a period of time, and gradually lengthening the bed time which can help reset the circadian sleep-wake rhythm over time.

  • Cognitive restructuring

This involves examining and re-balancing the dysfunctional thoughts and ideas we have regarding sleep, and allows us to address the “hyperarousal” that our bodies can develop over time when we are not sleeping well.

  • Relaxation Techniques

This also addresses the “hyperarousal” issue and can help to calm the racing or overactive mind. There are many different techniques available, and can include breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or “clear-your-head” time.

To see one person’s experience with sleep restriction therapy as part of a CBT-I program, follow the link below:

To learn more about these and other strategies to help restore restful sleep, contact Pacific Sleep to book an in-person, phone or virtual appointment with Dr. Houwing.

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At Pacific Sleep Care, we are committed to building knowledge of sleep apnea symptoms and the health benefits of various treatments. Our patients’ well-being is our top priority, and our team enjoys working with people to restore healthy sleep patterns and improve their quality of life.

Due to illness and COVID isolation requirements, there may be times when we have to have an unscheduled closure of a local office. Please check our Facebook page for daily updates.