CBT-I Treatment

CBT-I Treatment

CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia)  is proven to be the most effective first-line treatment for adults with chronic insomnia. It improves sleep in 75-80% of insomnia patients and reduces or eliminates sleeping pill use in 90% of patients. And, in three major studies that directly compared CBT-I to sleeping pills, CBT-I was more effective than sleeping pills. CBT-I also has no side effects and maintains improvements in sleep long-term, and new research shows that CBT-I doubles the improvement rates of depression compared to antidepressant medication alone in depressed patients with insomnia. It also reduces pain, fibromyalgia, substance abuse, and PTSD in insomnia patients with these co-morbid health problems.

In contrast to CBT-I, sleeping pills do not greatly improve sleep. Objectively, newer-generation sleeping pills such as Ambien are no more effective than a placebo. Subjectively, sleeping pills only increase total sleep time, and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, by about 10 minutes . Furthermore, these small to moderate short-term improvements in sleep are often outweighed by significant side effects, particularly in adults age 60+. These side effects include impaired learning and memory, daytime sedation, dependency, and increased risk of overdose and depression as well as traumatic brain injury and dementia in the elderly.Research also suggests that sleeping pills and drugs of abuse share the same neurobiological pathway involved in addiction, and 33 of 34 studies have shown an association between sleeping pill use and and increased mortality rates.

As a result, CBT-I is now recommended as the preferred treatment for insomnia:

  • CBT-I puts people to sleep faster than sleeping pills. American Journal of Psychiatry
  • CBT-I works as well or better than sleeping pills. Journal of Family Practice
  • CBT-I is the preferred treatment for chronic insomnia. National Institutes of Health, New England Journal of Medicine review, Lancet review, American Psychological Association, Consumer Reports

The Conquering Insomnia program replicates the CBT-I program developed and tested at Harvard Medical School and the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs in his work with over ten thousand insomnia patients over the past 25 years. In a study conducted at Harvard Medical School by Dr. Jacobs that was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, his CBT-I program for insomnia was more effective than Ambien.

The Conquering Insomnia program is a 5-session, 5-week interactive PDF-based (Adobe Reader) CBT-I program. The program is delivered online, can be accessed permanently at any time in the future online, and can be saved to computer.


The 5 sessions in the Conquering Insomnia program are organized over a 5-week period as follows:

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  1. Session 1: Basic facts about sleep; Conducting your own insomnia assessment
  2. Session 2: Sleep scheduling and stimulus control techniques
  3. Session 3: Cognitive restructuring techniques; Sleep medication tapering techniques
  4. Session 4: Daytime relaxation techniques; Developing stress-reducing, sleep-enhancing
    attitudes and beliefs
  5. Session 5: Bedtime relaxation techniques; Lifestyle habits that improve sleep

This Conquering Insomnia program is designed to be a sequential five-week program (e.g., you begin with session 1, and then proceed to session 2, and so on through session 5 over a 5 week period). Although you should spend a week on each session before you move on to the next session, the program can be completed at your own pace since you can print or save the PDF-based treatment sessions.

The Conquering Insomnia program is also individualized because you can complete a sleep diary each week of the program, e-mail it to Dr. Jacobs, and receive weekly individualized guidelines and feedback from Dr. Jacobs on CBT-I techniques based on your sleep diary.

The Conquering Insomnia program also includes:

  • Weekly summaries of goals and tips for meeting these goals.
  • A library of over 100 insomnia focus articles, study reviews, blogs, and sleep tips.

The Conquering Insomnia program is also now available in MP3 format.

For information on CBT-I clinicians in your area, click here.